Pimp my fluff: A Thousand Plateaus and other theoretical extravaganzas
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This article is fueled by irritation with obscurantism in and posturing around ‘theory’ in contemporary anthropology. It examines three examples of contemporary anthropological production that build on what has become a cult reference in this regard, the incomprehensible A Thousand Plateaus by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. These examples involve the reconceptualization of crafting (Ingold), of causation (Remme) and of the rhizome (Mueller), each of which mobilizes Deleuze and Guattari’s conceptual lexicon in a specific and distinct way. Nourished by these examples, and despite her initial skepticism, the author concludes that the obscurity of Deleuze and Guattari’s overwrought prose can nonetheless lead to interesting anthropological analyses that engage variously with this work to produce real theoretical and empirical insights. The article concludes, however, that the disciplinary economy of this production values ‘theory’ over and above attempts to describe ‘reality’. Then, building on Boltanski’s distinction between ‘reality’ and ‘the world’, it proposes what the author argues is a more useful mobilization of theory, dedicated to producing more accurate and just descriptions of the world we live in.
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Resource Types::text::journal::journal article