Deleuze's 'immanent historicism'
It is not often noted, but The Political Unconscious by Fredric Jameson is explicitly presented as Deleuzian in spirit. It is, in effect, an experiment in immanent criticism, or what I would prefer to call ‘immanent historicism’, which like Deleuze and Guattari’s first great collaboration, The Anti-Oedipus, is concerned, in Jameson’s own words, ‘to reassert the specificity of the political content of everyday life and of individual fantasy-experience and to reclaim it from that reduction to the merely subjective and to the status of psychological projection’. That their respective projects could be the same or even similar scarcely seems possible given that they stand on opposite sides of that yawning chasm – namely, the Hegel and anti-Hegel divide – which in the decades since World War II has split philosophy in two. And yet, here is Jameson claiming a supposed enemy as a kindred spirit. This is surely the most provocative reading of Deleuze ever offered. Certainly, to my mind, it is the most interesting, and in what follows I will try to show how Jameson’s insight can be used to enrich our understanding of Deleuze’s work.