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Schizoanalysis (French: schizanalyse; schizo- from Greek σχίζειν skhizein, meaning "to split") is a set of theories and techniques developed by philosopher Gilles Deleuze and psychoanalyst Félix Guattari, first expounded in their book Anti-Oedipus (1972) and continued in their follow-up work, A Thousand Plateaus (1980). The practice acquires many different definitions during the course of its development in their collaborative work and individually in the work of Guattari, and is distinct from the practice of psychoanalysis. Schizoanalysis "is at once a transcendental and a materialist analysis"[1] dealing with the real and yet nonfigurative aspects of the unconscious.

In his work Chaosmosis, Guattari explains that "rather than moving in the direction of reductionist modifications which simplify the complex", schizoanalysis "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".[2]

Evolution of the idea[edit]

Schizoanalysis was developed over a long period of time as a response to the perceived shortcomings in the basic premises of psychoanalytic practice and as the culmination of Guattari's work with institutional psychotherapy at the La Borde clinic. 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. Guattari was interested in a practice that could derive from given systems of enunciation and preexisting subjective structures new "assemblages [agencements] of enunciation" capable of forging new coordinates of analysis and to bring into existence unforeseen propositions and representations.

By the time of "Five Propositions on Psychoanalysis" (1973),[3] Deleuze said "we no longer want to talk about schizoanalysis, because that would amount to protecting a particular type of escape, schizophrenic escape".


Deleuze and Guattari write in the fourth chapter of Anti-Oedipus, "Introduction to Schizoanalysis", that in effect, schizoanalysis asks "What are your desiring-machines, what do you put into these machines, what is the output, how does it work, what are your nonhuman sexes?".[4]

Deleuze and Guattari develop four theses of schizoanalysis:

  1. Every unconscious libidinal investment is social and bears upon a socio-historical field.
  2. Unconscious libidinal investments of group or desire are distinct from preconscious investments of class or interest.
  3. Non-familial libidinal investments of the social field are primary in relation to familial investments.
  4. Social libidinal investments are distinguished according to two poles: a paranoiac, reactionary, fascisizing pole and a schizoid revolutionary pole.

Body without organs[edit]

The body without organs is a central concept in schizoanalysis; Deleuze and Guattari write in A Thousand Plateaus that it is "the only practical object of schizoanalysis".[5] It is "the unproductive, the sterile, the unengendered, the unconsumable",[6] a disorganized body of loose and erratic desires that they strongly identify with schizophrenia, as well as masochism and repressed forms of love, and that they compare in Anti-Oedipus to a desert of sorts. Bodies without organs are produced by the unconscious when desiring-production achieves its third nonproductive stage; a body without organs is "produced as a whole, but in its own particular place within the process of production, alongside the parts that it neither unifies nor totalizes."[7] Deleuze writes in The Logic of Sense (1969) that "a body without organs, with neither mouth nor anus, having given up all introjection or projection, and being complete, at this price",[8] is "closed on a full depth without limits and without exteriority."[9]

Four functors[edit]

The four functors are concepts within a clinical model of the unconscious, laid out in the following schema:

  1. Territories: finite existential subjectifications
  2. Universes of value: virtual incorporeal alterifications
  3. Fluxes: material, energetic and semiotic transformations
  4. Phylums: concrete and abstract evolution of machines

The territory is the object of deterritorialization and reterritorialization, while the flux and phylum are the components of abstract machines. With these functors, there are four circular components that bud and form rhizomes:[10]

  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


Nick Land[edit]

British philosopher and theorist Nick Land, whose critical work and experimental texts in the 1990s frequently cited from Deleuze and Guattari, has written that "schizoanalysis shares in the delicious irresponsibility of everything anarchic, inundating and harshly impersonal."[11] In his 1992 essay "Circuitries", Land describes the practice of schizoanalysis as a prescient method of analysis, and writes that it "was only possible because we are hurtling into the first globally integrated insanity: politics is obsolete. Capitalism and Schizophrenia hacked into a future that programs it down to its punctuation, connecting with the imminent inevitability of viral revolution, soft fusion."[12] Land's later work in the 1990s, associated with the Cybernetic Culture Research Unit, also further reinterpreted and developed schizoanalysis in terms of cybernetics, cyberpunk aesthetics and occultism, most prominently in his 1995 essay "Meltdown":

Machinic Synthesis. Deleuzoguattarian schizoanalysis comes from the future. It is already engaging with nonlinear nano-engineering runaway in 1972; differentiating molecular or neotropic machineries from molar or entropic aggregates of nonassembled particles; functional connectivity from antiproductive static. Philosophy has an affinity with despotism, due to its predilection for Platonic-fascist top-down solutions that always screw up viciously. Schizoanalysis works differently. It avoids Ideas, and sticks to diagrams: networking software for accessing bodies without organs. BwOs, machinic singularities, or tractor fields emerge through the combination of parts with (rather than into) their whole; arranging composite individuations in a virtual/actual circuit. They are additive rather than substitutive, and immanent rather than transcendent: executed by functional complexes of currents, switches, and loops, caught in scaling reverberations, and fleeing through intercommunications, from the level of the integrated planetary system to that of atomic assemblages. Multiplicities captured by singularities interconnect as desiring-machines; dissipating entropy by dissociating flows, and recycling their machinism as self-assembling chronogenic circuitry.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Deleuze and Guattari, Anti-Oedipus (2004, 109).
  2. ^ Guattari (1992, 61).
  3. ^ Gilles Deleuze, Desert Islands and Other Texts, 1953–1974, MIT Press, 2004 (pp. 274--280), originally published in "Relazione di Gilles Deleuze" and discussions in Armando Verdiglione, ed., Psicanalisi e Politica; Atti del Convegno di studi tenuto a Milano l'8—9 Maggio 1973. Milan: Feltrinelli, 1973, pp. 7-11, 17-21, 37-40, 44-45, 169-172. Abridged and edited
  4. ^ Deleuze and Guattari, Anti-Oedipus (2004, 322).
  5. ^ Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus (1980, 203).
  6. ^ Deleuze and Guattari, Anti-Oedipus (2004, 8).
  7. ^ Deleuze and Guattari, Anti-Oedipus (2004, 43).
  8. ^ Deleuze, The Logic of Sense (1990, 188).
  9. ^ Deleuze, The Logic of Sense (1990, 198).
  10. ^ Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus (1980, 160-2).
  11. ^ Nick Land, Fanged Noumena: Collected Writings 1987-2007 (2011, 265).
  12. ^ Nick Land, Fanged Noumena (2011, 317).
  13. ^ Nick Land, Fanged Noumena (2011, 442).


  • Ian Buchanan, 'Schizoanalysis: An Incomplete Project', in B. Dillet, I. Mackenzie & R. Porter eds., The Edinburgh Companion to Poststructuralism, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2013, pp. 163–185.
  • Deleuze, Gilles and Félix Guattari. 1972. Anti-Oedipus. Trans. Robert Hurley, Mark Seem and Helen R. Lane. London and New York: Continuum, 2004. Vol. 1 of Capitalism and Schizophrenia. 2 vols. 1972-1980. Trans. of L'Anti-Oedipe. Paris: Les Editions de Minuit. ISBN 0-8264-7695-3.
  • ---. 1980. A Thousand Plateaus. Trans. Brian Massumi. London and New York: Continuum, 2004. Vol. 2 of Capitalism and Schizophrenia. 2 vols. 1972-1980. Trans. of Mille Plateaux. Paris: Les Editions de Minuit. ISBN 0-8264-7694-5.
  • Guattari, Félix. 1989. Cartographies Schizoanalytiques. Paris: Editions Galilee.
  • ---. 1992. Chaosmosis: An Ethico-Aesthetic Paradigm. Trans. Paul Bains and Julian Pefanis. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana UP, 1995. Trans. of Chaosmose. Paris: Editions Galilee. ISBN 0-909952-25-6.
  • Holland, Eugene. 1999. Deleuze and Guattari's Anti Oedipus: Introduction to Schizoanalysis. Oxford: Routledge.