A Thousand Plateaus

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A Thousand Plateaus
A Thousand Plateaus (French edition).jpg
Cover of the French edition
Author Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari
Original title Mille plateaux
Translator Brian Massumi
Country France
Language French
Genre Philosophy
Media type Print (Hardcover, Paperback)
Pages 645 (French edition)
610 (English translation)
ISBN 0-8166-1401-6
0-8166-1402-4 (paperback)

A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia (French: Mille plateaux) is a 1980 book by French philosopher Gilles Deleuze and psychoanalyst Félix Guattari. It is the second volume of Capitalism and Schizophrenia, and the successor to Anti-Oedipus (1972).

Relationship to Anti-Oedipus[edit]

The second volume of Capitalism and Schizophrenia, A Thousand Plateaus was translated into English by Brian Massumi, who observes that it differs drastically in tone, content, and composition from its predecessor Anti-Oedipus. He sees A Thousand Plateaus, written over a seven-year period, as "less a critique than a sustained, constructive experiment in schizophrenic, or 'nomad', thought."[1] Before the full translation appeared in 1988, the twelfth "plateau" was published separately as Nomadology: The War Machine (New York: Semiotext(e), 1986).

Deleuze critic Eugene Holland suggests that A Thousand Plateaus complicates the slogans and oppositions developed in its predecessor. Where Anti-Oedipus created binaries such as molar/molecular, paranoid/schizophrenic, and deterritorialization/reterritorialization, A Thousand Plateaus shows how such distinctions are operations on the surface of a deeper field with more complicated and multidimensional dynamics. In doing so, it also moves away from human history toward topics such as biology and geology.[2]


A Thousand Plateaus is written in a non-linear fashion, and the reader is invited to move among plateaux in any order.[2] These stylistic choices are entangled in the book's content, as made apparent in the introductory section on "rhizomes".


A Thousand Plateaus served as a 'model' for Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri's book Empire (2000).[3] Janet Murray links the book to the aesthetic of hypertext.[4] Bill Readings, in his book The University in Ruins, appropriates the term "singularity" from A Thousand Plateaus, "to indicate that there is no longer a subject-position available to function as the site of the conscious synthesis of sense-impressions."[5] John Urry treats them as one of the major metaphors of mobility that he deals with in his book Sociology Beyond Societies: Mobilities for the Twenty First Century.[6] Nikolas Rose claims that the book articulates "the most radical alternative to the conventional image of subjectivity as coherent, enduring, and individualized".[7] Espen Aarseth equates their idea of the rhizome from this book with Umberto Eco's idea of the net.[8] Mark Poster proclaims that the book "contains promising elaborations of a postmodern theory of the social and political."[9]


Christopher Miller and Timothy Laurie have criticised the use of meretricious anthropological sources to buttress claims about nomadism throughout the text.[10] Physicists Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont also claim that A Thousand Plateaus contains many passages that use pseudo-scientific language.[11] Deleuze and Guattari's commentary on 'becoming-animal' has also been described as 'leading', insofar as it 'naturalizes what is an otherwise spurious distinction between that which attracts narcissistic Oedipal investments and that which does not".[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Massumi, Brian (1993). A User's Guide to Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Deviations from Deleuze and Guattari. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press. pp. 1–4. ISBN 0-262-63143-1. 
  2. ^ a b Eugene W. Holland, "Deterritorializing 'deterritorialization'—From the Anti-Oedipus to A Thousand Plateaus", SubStance #66 (Vol. 3, No. 9), 1991, accessed via JStor.
  3. ^ Hardt and Negri (2000).
  4. ^ Janet Murray, Hamlet on the Holodeck, page 132)
  5. ^ Page 115
  6. ^ Page 27
  7. ^ Rose, Nikolas. Inventing our Selves: Psychology, Power, and Personhood. Page 170
  8. ^ Aarseth, Espen. Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature Page 6
  9. ^ Poster, Mark. The Mode of Information: Poststructuralism and Social Context page 135
  10. ^ Laurie, Timothy (2012), "Epistemology as Politics and the Double-Bind of Border Thinking: Lévi-Strauss, Deleuze and Guattari, Mignolo", Portal: Journal of Multidisciplinary International Studies 9 (2): 1–20 
  11. ^ Sokal, Alan; Bricmont, Jean (1999). Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals' Abuse of Science. New York: Picador. p. 168. ISBN 0-312-20407-8. : "Should the reader entertain any further doubts about the ubiquity of pseudo-scientific language in Deleuze and Guattari's work, he or she is invited to consult, in addition to the references given in the footnotes, pages 20-24, 32, 36-42, 50, 117-133, 135-142, 151-162, 197, 202-207, and 214-217 of What Is Philosophy?, and pages 32-33, 142-143, 211-212, 251-252, 293-295, 361-365, 369-374, 389-390, 461, 469-473, and 482-490 of A Thousand Plateaus."
  12. ^ Laurie, Timothy (2015), "Becoming-Animal Is A Trap For Humans", Deleuze and the Non-Human  eds. Hannah Stark and Jon Roffe.


External links[edit]

  • April 10, 2006 article by John Philipps, with an explanation of the incomplete translation of "agencement" by "assemblage" ("One of the earliest attempts to translate Deleuze and Guattari’s use of the term agencement appears in the first published translation, by Paul Foss and Paul Patton in 1981, of the article “Rhizome.” The English term they use, assemblage, is retained in Brian Massumi’s later English version, when “Rhizome” appears as the Introduction to A Thousand Plateaus.")
  • Faciality: The concept of faciality discussed by Michael Hardt.
  • Story of the Abyss and the Spyglass: Deleuze and Guattari's study of the story discussed by Ronald Bogue in Deleuze on Literature (2013).
  • Nomadology discussed by Christopher L. Miller.
  • The Smooth and the Striated. The penultimate chapter of ATP discussed by Flora Lysen and Patricia Pisters.
  • "Drawings from A Thousand Plateaus" presents a paragraph by paragraph diagrammatic interpretation of the first two chapters of A Thousand Plateaus, by artist Marc Ngui.