The politics of language : ennunciation as political praxis in Guattari and Deleuze

Caló Rodrigues Pinto, Susana Maria (2015) The politics of language : ennunciation as political praxis in Guattari and Deleuze. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, .


Through the study of the philosophy of Felix Guattari and Gilles Deleuze, this thesis seeks to extract and elaborate a political practice of language by investigating their critique of linguistics and the development of a semio-pragmatic conception of language. Whereas most scholars see Deleuze and Guattari’s critique of linguistics as a project that claims to enact an escape from language, this thesis argues that implicit in Deleuze and Guattari’s apparently antagonist approach to language is a new way of thinking about language as a social and political practice. The thesis delineates a trajectory of research that is focused not on Deleuze and Guattari's philosophy of literature, nor on a philosophy of language, but rather on how language operates within a semiotic framework of power. It provides an analysis of Louis Hjelmslev's theory of the sign and Guattari and Deleuze's Hjelmslevian reading of Foucault's statement as the main resources for Deleuze and Guattari’s elaboration of a pragmatics that is both political and semiotic, and which responds to the need identified by Guattari to produce a political genealogy of content. To develop a theory of a political practice of language the thesis turns to Guattari's institutional reflections and takes the La Borde clinic as a case study. It examines clinical experimental protocols and Guattari's theory of subject- and subjected-group to discern the particular role that language plays in the framework of collective analytical processes of enunciation. It is argued that Guattari's reinterpretation of Sartre’s dialectical sociology suggests a role for language – as social practice – in processes of autonomy and institutional creation. Finally, the thesis discusses two main ideas: the idea of an a-signifying use of language (a use that is not primarily concerned with signification) and the conceptualisation of language as intervention, following Guattari’s attempt to mobilise an expanded notion of analysis – a collective militant analysis – moving from the clinical context to more general social contexts. Ultimately, the thesis argues that Guattari and Deleuze’s critique of linguisticsand Guattari’s mobilisation of analysis as a form of political intervention make it possible to reclaim language as the centre of social and political struggles.

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