Schizoanalysis and the pedagogy of the oppressed
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In Nietzsche and Philosophy (1983), Deleuze suggests that in order to understand a thinker properly one has to know who they were against (p. 162). In the case of Deleuze, both on his own and in collaboration with Guattari, the received wisdom is that he was against Hegel. In part this is because of the way in Nietzsche and Philosophy he positions Hegel as Nietzsche's enemy. But this 'meme', if you will, which is reproduced in the secondary literature on Deleuze and Guattari with such monotonous regularity it can justly be termed a cliche, obscures more than it reveals, giving us an image of thought (to use Deleuze and Guattari's own useful concept for cliched thinking) in the place of what was actually thought. However, it is not just Deleuzians who are guilty of this. Hegel is frequently painted as a dark figure in French thought, particularly by the generation of thinkers loosely known as post-structuralists, e.g., Deleuze, Derrida, Foucault, and Lyotard. But this depiction of Hegel as a kind of a philosophical wrong turn overlooks the fact that he was also a profound inspiration to some of the keenest and most radical minds of the generation before the post -structuralists, such as Sartre and Beauvoir, and the many thinkers they inspired such as Fanon, Memmi, and the great Brazilian educationalist Paulo Freire. In other words, in the span of a single generation Hegel went from being the potent ally of politically-motivated philosophers to the arch enemy of the same, despite the fact that the later generation of philosophers were, politically speaking, largely in sympathy with their predecessors, sharing their concern for justice, equality and the need for critical thinking. This scission needs to be explained.
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