Schizoanalysis: an incomplete project



Publication Details

Buchanan, I. M. (2013). Schizoanalysis: an incomplete project. In B. Dillet, I. McKenzie and R. Porter (Eds.), The Edinburgh Companion to Poststructuralism (pp. 163-185). United Kingdom: Edinburgh University Press.

Additional Publication Information

ISBN: 9780748641222


There is no straightforward way to say what schizoanalysis is. The problem is not so much that the question is not answered by Deleuze and Guattari or that it is somehow unanswerable; rather the problem is that it has several answers. Unwilling to provide any kind of 'formula' or 'model' that would enable us to simply 'do' schizoanalysis as a tick-box exercise in which everything relates inexorably to one single factor (e.g. the family), which is what they thought psychoanalysis had become, Deleuze and Guattari observe a quite deliberate strategy of providing multiple answers to the questions their work raises. Guattari's insistence that schizoanalysis is a form of meta-modelling makes it clear that this supple approach is quite deliberate. Meta-modelling is something like the 'scenario planning' utilised by 'risk managers' in complex organisations who try to foresee and 'manage' the variety of possible transformations an institution such as a university might undergo if circumstances changed (e.g. how would it cope with an earthquake?). Meta-modelling tries to grapple with the realm of 'what might happen' that constantly dogs the realm of 'what is happening'. Deleuze and Guattari's elaborate system of new terms and concepts (many of them contrived from obscure literary sources) is of a piece with this strategy of providing multiple answers to basic questions and should be seen as deliberately guarding against the reductive tendencies of the 'practically-minded'. As I will explain in more detail in what follows, one has to read Deleuze and Guattari's work with an eye toward the resonances (which is not to say equivalences) between their many ideas and from that develop a 'machine' that can be put to new purposes. This is not to say schizoanalysis is either incoherent or impractical, as many of its detractors are quick to claim, but to insist that its practice cannot be divorced from its theory and that to engage With one it is necessary to engage with the other.

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