Recent political theory has shifted decidedly towards ontology, the ‘science of being’, and thus towards examining fundamental concepts of identity, difference, space, and time. This new focus has reinvigorated questions concerning the nature of power, meaning, truth and agency, inspiring novel approaches to individual and collective subjectivity, the emergence of political events and the relationship between desire and politics. In this new study, Nathan Widder shows how Deleuze’s philosophy both inspires and presses beyond political theory’s ‘ontological turn’.
Linking his thought to current political theory debates, Widder explains how Deleuze’s philosophy and ontology of difference are cashed out through a micropolitics of creative and critical experimentation. He further demonstrates how Deleuze challenges ideas of identity and the subject that still dominate both political thought and practice today. Connecting Deleuze to key figures in both classical and contemporary political philosophy, from Plato and Aristotle to Hegel, Nietzsche, Lacan, and Foucault, this book will be of interest to students and scholars in political theory, philosophy, and related disciplines, looking to engage the emerging field of Deleuze studies.
Table of Contents
Preface \ Abbreviations \ 1. The Ontological Turn in Political Theory \ 2. Deleuze’s Ontology \ 3. Deleuze’s Nietzsche \ 4. Desire and Desiring-Machines \ 5. Micropolitics \ 6. Conclusion – Pluralism and ‘A Life’ \ Notes \ Bibliography \ Index
Nathan Widder is Reader in Political Theory at Royal Holloway, University of London, UK. His previous publications include Reflections on Time and Politics (Penn State University Press, 2008) and Genealogies of Difference(University of Illinois Press, 2002).
‘Looking for the introduction to Deleuze and political theory? You've found it. Nathan Widder gives the most clear and persuasive account of why Deleuze's philosophy matters for contemporary political thought. He situates this significance through an outstanding account of the place of Deleuze among historical and contemporary theories and figures, notably Hegel, Nietzsche and Lacan. The book also explains how Deleuze announces a new departure for political action and critique. In addition to a wonderful array of concrete examples, the book supports its arguments through an exemplary reading of Deleuze's works. A joy to read, and a joy to apply...’
Professor James Williams, University of Dundee, UK
‘Nathan Widder provides a remarkably accessible introduction to Deleuze’s ontology and its implications for political thought. He explains Deleuze’s distinctive contribution to contemporary political theory, namely that ‘we are micropolitical before we are political,’ by way of an informative tour through some of his most difficult texts, including Difference and Repetition, Nietzscheand Philosophy and Anti-Oedipus (co-written with Guattari). This book is an indispensable handbook to Deleuze’s key concepts that will be of interest to beginners as well as advanced students of Deleuze’s thought.’
Paul Patton, Professor of Philosophy, University of New South Wales, Australia