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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Schizoanalysis was first introduced in 1972 by philosopher Gilles Deleuze and psychoanalyst Felix Guattari in their book Anti-Oedipus. Its formulation was continued in their follow-up work, A Thousand Plateaus. The concept takes many different definitions over the course of its development in their collaborative work and individually in the work of Guattari. The most precise definition however is given in Felix Guattari's untranslated work Cartographies Schizoanalytiques as "the analysis of the incidence of Dispositions [agencements] of enunciation upon semiotic and subjective productions, in a given problematic context". Put in other terms, it is the practice of meta-modelization of endo- and exo-referentialities, and the modelization of the transformation of such referencialities.

Schizoanalysis was developed over a long period of time as a response to the perceived shortcomings in the basic premises of analytic practice. Guattari was directly confronted with such problems in the work of Sigmund Freud -- namely, the use of the Oedipus Complex as a starting point for the analysis, and the authoritarian role of the psychoanalyst in relationship to the patient. What immediately interested Guattari was a practice that could derive from given systems of enunciation and preexisting subjective structures new Dispositions [agencements] of enunciation capable of forging new coordinates of analysis and to bring into existence unforeseen propositions and representations.

Elsewhere in Chaosmosis, Guattari elucidates that 'Schizoanalysis rather than moving in the direction of reductionist modifications which simplify the complex, will work towards its complexification, its processual enrichment, towards the consistency of its virtual lines of bifurcation and differentiation, in short towards its ontological heterogeneity.' (p61)

Schizoanalysis may be seen as a broader, more complex --in the sense that it starts from the basis that signifying structure does not transcend the libido-- alternative to the semiophysics espoused by mathematician René Thom in Esquisses d'une sémiophysique.


Schizoanalysis can be represented by four circular components that bud and form rhizomes:

  1. The generative component: the study of concrete mixed semiotics; their mixtures and variations. Making a tracing of the mixed semiotics.
  2. The transformational component: the study of pure semiotics; their transformations-translations and the creation of new semiotics. Making the transformational map of the regimes, with their possibilities for translation and creation, for budding along the lines of the tracings.
  3. The diagrammatic component: the study of abstract machines, from the standpoint of semiotically unformed matters in relation to physically unformed matters. Making the diagram of the abstract machines that are in play in each case, either as potentialities or as effective emergences.
  4. The machinic component: the study of the assemblages that effectuate abstract machines, simultaneously semiotizing matters of expression and physicalizing matters of content. Outlining the program of the assemblages that distribute everything and bring a circulation of movement with alternatives, jumps, and mutations.

Further reading

  • Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus - Capitalism and Schizophrenia (1980 TP) trans. Brian Massumi (1987: University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis)
  • Félix Guattari, Cartographies Schizoanalytiques (1989: Editions Galilee, Paris)
  • Felix Guattari (1992) 'Chaosmosis', Indiana University Press, Bloomington and Indianapolis
  • Eugene Holland, Deleuze and Guattari's Anti Oedipus: Introduction to Schizoanalysis (1999: Routledge, Oxford).

See also

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