CRITICAL THEORY AND RADICAL POLITICS
SEMINAR SERIES 2017/18
The People is what is Lacking: Gilles Deleuze on Fabulating the Political Subject
Professor Emma Ingala Gomez
(Faculty of Philosophy, Complutense, Madrid)
According to dominant readings of Deleuze and Guattari’s political philosophy, every social institution or organisation is erected upon a logic of domination. Accordingly revolutionary politics operates as a problematisation, never as a constitutive remaking, of these institutions or organisations. They thus call for the production of discontinuities and interruptions to an inevitably subjugating social machine. Their politics would amount to a fragmentary collection of extremely rare, unpredictable, fleeting, and exceptional moments. This means that the only way to challenge subjection is to engage in a process of de-subjectivation, and the only way to ground a non-subjected group is to dissolve the group. A radical politics becomes pure disruption but never majoritarian action. This reading of Deleuze and Guattari’s political philosophy makes them irreconcilable with the theories of hegemony of Gramsci, Laclau, and Mouffe. Tønder and Thomassen have formulated this incompatibility from a different angle in their book Radical Democracy: Politics between Abundance and Lack dividing the landscape of radical democratic theory into two neatly demarcated factions on the basis of their dissenting ontological imaginaries: theories of abundance and theories of lack. The first is inspired by Deleuze, the latter by Lacan including Laclau and Mouffe. Against this polarised reading I analyse two Deleuzian formulae (“there is no left wing government” and “the people is what is lacking”). I thus (1) challenge and resignify the opposition between abundance and lack; (2) show that politics for Deleuze and Guattari is not only pure disruption, but also has a constitutive and hegemonic dimension in their notions of majority and minority; and (3) examine how these notions of majority and minority allow us to distinguish left from right wing populism.
Professor Emma Ingala Gomez completed a PhD in Philosophy at Complutense, University of Madrid and in Psychopathology at the Paris Diderot University - Paris 7. She teaches in the Department of Theoretical Philosophy of the University Complutense of Madrid. Her teaching and research focus on contemporary currents of philosophy and, in particular on poststructuralist politics and theory. She has published widely on among others Deleuze, Lacan, Bulter and Balibar. She has been a visiting professor at Royal Holloway, University of London and at the University of California, Berkeley.