Internalization of the rule of law is self-imposed terrorism and despotism. Faced with the realization that we are the police and the criminal, we evacuate ourselves and society in general of all value in favor of endless structural negativity. Whatever you’ve done, rest assured, you deserve worse.
[Claire, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of English at Pennsylvania State University and cultural theorist, “Legal Theory after Deleuze” ch. 2 in Deleuze and Law: Forensic Futures, 2009 Palgrave Macmillan, https://link.springer.com/book/10.1057/9780230244771] green = short
It is true, they acknowledge, that we are currently suffering from an Oedipal structure, which is tied directly to capitalism and a certain notion of the law. Here they draw directly on the structural psychoanalysis of Jacques Lacan, who insisted that one could only be a subject through subjection to law, and that this subjection was Oedipal in its imaginary dimension. Deleuze and Guattari oppose this thesis by insisting on the reality of desire. Social machines or the network of law and relations are not primary, for social machines and law work upon and require flows of desire. Desire is not some imagined effect of the law. It is not the case that one requires an original prohibition to create a desire that must have been. It is the case, they concede, that Oedipal desire is an effect of the law, for it is the prohibition on incest that leads us to assume that incest is what we must have desired. This prohibition distorts a real and revolutionary desire, a desire that is beyond the law insofar as it is not yet a desire for recognition or social production. It is an intensive desire (Deleuze and Guattari, 1983, p. 114).
As an example we might return to the Mabo case. One way to read the legal claim of Aboriginal peoples for native title is through recognition. A claim for land would be a claim for inclusion, given that selfhood today is largely conferred through capacities for ownership. On such a reading the desire of any claim is derived from the social machine of legitimation. Another, intensive, reading of such claims is that there is a directly revolutionary desire that takes the form of an attachment to the spirit of a space that is not yet subjected to the social machine of c apital. This desire for land might enable the formation of another social machine that would also be a coding of desire. However, as it functions in the Mabo v Queensland judgements, we could see the desire for land as an opening up of the ‘war machine’, where the terms of a body politic are not yet decided (Ivison, Patton and Sanders, 2000).
Deleuze and Guattari create a positive concept of desire that provides a radical overturning of the structurally constitutive understanding of law. It is not the case that in the beginning is law, system and relation, with the non-relation or ‘in itself’ being imagined after the event. Instead, they posit desire as a potentiality for creating relation: for example desires for land, for body parts, for sounds, for attachments. There can only be social machines, systems of law or lawfulness in general because of this potentiality for relations. We can give this potentiality a number of names, including the Body without Organs, desire, difference in itself, or the virtual. In all cases what Deleuze and Guattari reject is the primacy of ‘a’ relational system or even systematicity in general. There can only be systems, differences or laws if there are virtual potentials to differ, to enter into relation (Deleuze and Guattari, 1983, p. 111).
Without setting up an overly dichotomous relation between Deleuze and Derrida we might suggest that the great contribution of Deleuze’s theory is that while he, like Derrida, insists that any presented being is the effect of some process of genesis, he also insists that it is possible to enquire into the virtual potentials from which such genetic potentials unfold. Derrida continually insisted that we only know genesis through the structures it has enabled, even if those structures never exhaust those potentials. This is made clear in Derrida’s very early essays on culture and the emergence of social relations. In response to Levi-Strauss, who argues that culture emerges with the prohibition of incest or the subjection of natural bodies to an order of exchange, Derrida notes that this distinction between pre-cultural desires and social structures must itself rely on a system of distinctions (Derrida, 1978). We are always already within difference, system and relations. To posit some naively utopian moment prior to prohibition is always to look back from instituted relations to some imaginary and illusory origin. The pre-systemic origin is effected from the system itself.
When Deleuze and Guattari direct their arguments against Oedipus they do so in direct criticism of this assumption of the necessary imposition of law. It is not the case, they insist, that desiring bodies are constituted through law. It is not through prohibition or subjection that something like a self who is ‘before the law’ can take existence(Deleuze and Guattari, 1983, p. 161). Whereas bodies and their relations were once dominated or ‘overcoded’ through the imposition of terror by despots, it is now the ‘signifier’ that reigns despotically, internalising terror in the form of the Oedipus complex. To explain this they make a comparison between a ‘surplus value of code’, enjoyed by the despots, and the general process of ‘decoding’ in capitalism. A social body produces material for consumptionthrough its interactions and technical processes. A certain excess can be enjoyed by the despot (in the form of sumptuous displays, wasteful expenditure or even the enjoyment of bodies denied to others). It is in this excessive consumption that the body of the despot turns the circulation of goods into a means for establishing his precedence. In this manoeuvre one body is set above the social body to define its point of order, the point from which it can be terrorised. Deleuze and Guattari describe the despot as one who subjects social alliance (relations among tribes and bodies) to filiation. The despot will claim to be descended directly from the gods. The despot’s body is therefore set outside the territory of producing bodies, as a point of anti-production. It is this point of immobility that subjects relations and flows of production to a seemingly transcendent or abstract point of consumption. The goods consumed by the despot in displays of excess are therefore productive of a surplus value of code,allowing the social machine to be explained by a body that is not part of the machine of production.
Deleuze and Guattari make a series of points regarding what they refer to as this historical stage of despotism. First, social machines (or the productive relations among bodies) are always repressions of desiring machines. Deleuze and Guattari’s project in Anti-Oedipus (1983) and A Thousand Plateaus (1987) is one of writing a history of varying relations between social machines and desiring machines. Desiring machines are relations that are not yet organised according to named bodies (such as mother–father–child, master–slave or worker–labourer). A desiring machine is a flow of milk connecting lips and breast, a flow of blood connecting scarring hand and enjoying eye, a flow of food from hand to mouth or flows of sound connecting birdsong to attending ears. When such flows become stabilised, through regularised practices of child-rearing, tattooing, hunting or collective eating, then a social machine forms organised bodies from flows of desire. Their important point is that one should not see social machines as collections of human subjects, for there can only bediscernible human forms (mother–father, male–female, or hunter–consumer) after desiring flows have been assembled into some minimally stable body of relations. This allows them to see law and terror as a form of deterritorialisation.
Social machines commence as territories, or relatively stable systems of relation that enable production. As soon as one body appears as a point of law or order for a territory then one hasmoved from the primitive to the despotic social machine, to a body of law that overcodes the whole.The modern notion that we can only be subjects insofar as we are submitted to a system of signification – and that outside the law there is only the chaos and the terror of the undifferentiated – merely substitutes the abstract terror of the signifier for the concrete terror of the despot (Deleuze and Guattari, 1983, p. 73). The idea that we are necessarily mediated by transcendence is, Deleuze and Guattari insist, an ‘archaism’ that allows despotism to continue in an abstract and internalised form. The notion, then, of justice as some absent, unattainable, ever-deferred but always admonishing ideal is profoundly oedipal. We no longer regard ourselves as terrorised by some actual body who threatens to punish us for inflicting disorder on the social machine. Instead, we imagine that there is no self outside its submission to systems. Beyond our submission there is only the nightmarish chaos of the undifferentiated. When we subject our desire to deferral and lack we are really only obeying a structural law of civilised humanity. They describe this ‘paralogism’ of the law as, ‘The extraction of a transcendent complete object from the signifying chain, which served as a despotic signifier on which the entire chain thereafter seemed to depend, assigning an element of lack to each position of desire, fusing desire to a law, and engendering the illusion that this loosenedup and freed the elements of the chain’(Deleuze and Guattari, 1983, p. 110). We should not, according to Deleuze and Guattari, simply accept this miserable and Oedipal fiction of necessary subjection. It matters little whether this is a literal abandonment of the mother in the face of paternal threat, or the structural resignation to system and signification in the face of a fall into psychotic or meaningless disorder. What occurs with the modern conception of law and desire is an increasing internalisation of terror and despotism, and an increasingly miserable distance from law. One is a subject only through subjection of desires to the law, while law can only be given, not as any actual or positive body, but as that which will always be above and beyond any achievable end (Deleuze and Guattari, 1983, p. 215).
It is all too easy to see the practical consequences of what Deleuze and Guattari describe. We can see the ways in which the subject of law in modernity suffers from this internalised, abstract, deferred and negative terror of structural negation. Humanity has become nothing other than a structure of subjection. In liberal democracies the self has no positive quality other than its submission to regulation. The social order, ideally, has no positive quality other than its prohibition of the intrusion of positive content from the network of social circulation. Human rights mark an interesting point within the discourse of liberalism that would define the self as properly autonomous, self-constituting and distinct from the imposition of any positive norms.Originally defined through notions of non-interference, rightshave become ways of maintaining minimal forms of normative content. The right to free speech, for example, is thoroughly in accord with an internalisation of what Deleuze and Guattari refer to as capitalism’s decoded axiomatic; one is no longer governed by a tyrannical body, but is self-governing precisely through the absence of any specific norm or quality. The order of law as it appears in the imperial formation, and as it will evolve later, indeed will have something in common: the indifference to designation (Deleuze and Guattari, 1983, p. 214). If there is no law other than the law of self-regulation, then the only truth or right of humanity lies in its quality of self-making. This allows us to protect, defend and define rights to free speech and conscience, but also explains those odd intrusions such as the right to ‘bear arms’. In the absence of any norm or law other than individuals’ capacities to enter into relation, one must also begin to acknowledge the rights of those bodies to preclude undue intrusion, possibly justifying a right to defence.
Self-policing is symptomatic of a paranoiac affective constellation that fears all difference and pursues homogeneity and predictability. The paranoiac filters experience to confirm fear – but the rising tide of suspicion won’t stop short of anything than a totalizing war on difference that ensures racial, gendered, and heterosexist violence.
Slavoj Žižek gets to the heart of what is at stake in the sociology of affect when he says that ‘beyond the field of meaning but at the same time internal to it – an ideology implies, manipulates, produces a pre-ideological enjoyment structured in fantasy’ (Žižek, 1989: 124). For the purposes of this essay ‘enjoyment’ in this strictly technical sense denotes the affective ‘loading’ of our attachment to certain beliefs, institutions, forms of life, rituals, traditions, music, art, food, dress, manners and so on. We find ourselves (some- times despite our ‘better judgement’, whatever that is) emotionally attached to certain forms of life, and repelled, disgusted, frightened or angered by others. Indeed we may find ourselves so deeply attached to nation, race, political prin- ciple or utopian ideal that we are willing to kill, be killed, or bring about destruction – apparently for their own sake.Conversely we sometimes find ourselves so deeply repelled or angered by the ‘other’ that we again find our- selves hating and destroying. Identification with, or hatred of, communities, beliefs or political abstrac- tions are not fully accounted for simply by describing the ideological and institutional structures within which the subject is interpellated. Something more is required. Some account of the investment of affective force within the ideological, cultural and institutional field is necessary. This is bound to be a complex matter. It cannot simply be that social forms reflect pre-given structures of feeling since it is clear that feelings can be, and often are, induced or reinforced by the articulation of particular discourses, rituals and cultural forms. It is often the case that we are brought near to tears, filled with joy, or enraged by rhetorical strategies of politicians, journalists, artists or those nearer to us. It is equally clearly not the case, however, that social and cul- tural forms determine affective forms in any straightforward way. It often seems that we search for an emotional outlet because we have a prior need for such an outlet. We seem to desire certain kinds of cultural phenomena (be it art, political speeches or tabloid newspapers) because they do things to us, affectively – things which we, somehow, ‘enjoy’. A particular strength of Žižek’s work, that sets him ahead of the rest of the field of post-Lacanian theorists, is the way in which he decentres the analy- sis of identification away from the individual and into the field of collective social life. For Žižek ‘enjoyment’ is not something which we experience indi- vidually, it is always something we share. Indeed it depends for its existence on this sharedness. When communities share affective attachment to ideo- logical, cultural and institutional phenomena Žižek writes about them sharing a ‘structure of enjoyment’ (Žižek, 1990). Very broadly speaking, we can think of this as a heterogeneous collection of shared social means for channelling and focusing affective bodily forces. In this article I will be drawing on some of my own research (conducted in the late 1980s) into the ‘structures of enjoyment’ which make up police occupational culture.1 I will be arguing that clear patterns, or ‘affective reper- toires’, can be identified, and I will suggest that these patterns could usefully be characterised as ‘paranoia’. I am not using the term here to refer to a kind of psychopathology – I am using it to refer to a particular cultural patterning of affect in a social context. The social characteristics I am referring to under the term ‘paranoid’ are the following:
A cultural milieu in which order, continuity, homogeneity and stasis are experienced as particularly pleasing and desirable. This is linked with a fundamental suspicion of difference, fluidity and change.
A cultural milieu which displays a tendency to split the world into good and bad parts with very rigid boundaries. Positive feelings of love and idealisation are directed towards the perceived good parts of the world whilst fear, hatred and loathing are directed towards the bad parts. So there is, for example, a tendency to see people as either good, decent and law abiding, or wicked and corrupt, with no grey area between. One might also refer to this as a suspicion of ambivalence and ambiguity wherever it occurs.
A cultural milieu which displays a tendency to project negative qualities onto those groups and individuals imagined to be ‘bad’. So a paranoid position might involve imagining and fearing that the ‘other’ has hostile intentions when in fact it is the paranoid individual or group who has hostile intentions towards the ‘other’.
A milieu which strongly displays a collective desire to order, control or, sometimes, attack outgroups into which bad qualities have been projected.
These characteristics are based on the concept of cultural paranoia as outlined by Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer in their analysis of anti-Semitism, by Slavoj Žižek in his analysis of ethnic conflict, and Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari in their analysis of the libidinal dynamics of modern capitalism. The last contrast this paranoid cultural pole with an opposite ‘schizophrenic’ pole. A schizophrenic cultural milieu would tend to celebrate and cultivate cultural hybridity, fluidity, difference, creativity and ambivalence – every- thing which is suspect in a paranoid environment. Raves and music festivals represent good examples of milieu which tend towards this schizophrenic end of the spectrum. Note that I am not referring to paranoid and schizo- phrenic people but to paranoid and schizophrenic social milieus. Individual people move in and out of more or less paranoid and schizophrenic milieus. We might talk about affective subject positions which people can take up within particular milieus, positions which channel their feelings in particular ways. Some of these subject positions, because of their place within paranoid milieus, will have the effect of producing paranoid feelings and experiences of the world in the individual. One such milieu, I am suggesting, is that inhabited by police officers.
THE POLICE SUBJECT IN TRADITIONAL POLICE STUDIES Very little empirical sociological research has concerned itself explicitly with the question of affect.2 This is not to say that affect does not appear in socio- logical research, however. It is simply that its presence tends not to be acknowledged as such. An examination of police occupational culture in traditional police studies produces a case in point. It is clear that what these studies actu- ally describe are constellations of affect, whilst calling them something more neutral like ‘attitudes’, ‘beliefs’ or even ‘discourses’. We might usefully distin- guish between the ‘symbolic content’ of such discourses (the specific objects of love, hatred, suspicion) and the ‘affective forms’. To take just one example the actual object of suspicion may vary from Irish immigrants in one context, to Polish immigrants in another, to Afro-Caribbean in another, but the general tendency to invest feelings of suspicion (among other feelings) in socially and economically marginalised ethnic minority communities remains fairly con- stant. So the ‘symbolic content’ may vary to some extent, while the ‘affective forms’ stay relatively constant. I am particularly interested in these ‘affective forms’ and why they seem to be so regular. It is important at the outset to fend off the potential charge that I am myself objectifying the police and their supposed affective forms in a paranoid manner. Do I view the police as a ‘bad them’ who have quite alien and objectionable ways of feeling about the world, compared to a ‘good us’? Malcolm Young makes the following comment about the very popular dramatisations of police work which populate TV and cinema screens: In nightly TV rituals of social order and chaos, a stream of hero policeman stand at the symbolic crossroads between peace and mayhem, and the detective and chief officer now operate at the point where once the church and its priests declaimed on apocalyptic threat, and categories of good and evil. (Young, 1991: 14) This fascination that the police hold for many existsnot because they are absolutely alien but precisely because they display affective forms with which we identify at an unconscious level – their story is an allegory of our own affective predicament in many ways. There is no ‘them’ and ‘us’ in this account. We could all be (and often are) police-like in our affective prefer- ences – and placed in the same position, most of us would feel and act just as other police men and women do. That is not of course to say that the police themselves do not construct the world in terms of a ‘them’ and ‘us’; they clearly do. We will see that many groups are defined as being outside the parameters of what can really count as ‘us’, by the police. This would include women, ethnic minorities, people with ‘dubious’ political opinions and so on. And many groups are simply defined outside of the boundary of what can be understood even as ‘respectable and law-abiding’. Indeed this propensity for rigidly splitting the world is highly characteristic of the police occupational milieu. They do split the world, they do construct an ‘other’ onto which their fears and loathings are projected to a great extent but this process is not unique to police officers, it is just particularly pronounced in their case. And my argument is that it is pronounced in their case not because they are somehow inherently different from the rest of us but because of the specific nature of policing as a form of social organisation.3 To what extent then do previous findings support the claims I am making regarding the existence of distinct affective patterns? It is arguable that the overwhelming majority of the evidence points towards an affective antagonism towards plurality, difference, complexity, ambiguity, change, hybridity, which are felt as a threat to the social world – what we might broadly refer to as forces of ‘flux’. This goes hand in hand with a positive affective ‘enjoy- ment’ of homogeneity, order, predictability, hierarchy, deference to authority, broadly speaking the forces of ‘stasis’.In other words, it describes the kind of paranoid cultural milieu which I set out above. Police studies research evidence over the past 35 years shows a remarkable degree of consistency through time, and across national boundaries, in these respects. Here are just a few examples.
RACE, SYMBOLIC ASSAILANTS AND POLICE RELEVANT CATEGORIES We can find this suspicion of difference in, for example, the overwhelming accumulation of evidence of racial prejudice. The picture has built up from Westley’s early evidence of racist language and beliefs among police officers in the United States, to the findings of Reiner, Fielding and Fielding, Graef, Cain and a whole host of others in this country (Cain, 1973; Fielding and Fielding, 1991; Graef, 1989; Reiner, 1978, 1992; Westley, 1970). In the 1980s, Smith and Gray famously produced highly disturbing evi- dence of prejudiced attitudes amongst the Metropolitan Police (Smith and Gray, 1985). They claimed, however, that these prejudices must be distin- guished from the actual relationships police officers had with black people in the context of policing their communities. Prejudice does not necessarily lead to discrimination, they suggested. Simon Holdaway, however, has rightly argued that such a separation is not really defensible. Instead these attitudes must be understood in the context of a process of ‘racialisation’ of the relationship between the police and certain minority communities (Hold- away, 1996: 72–105). The police/black-community relationship, instead of simply being a police/community relationship like any other, has historically been con- structed around an ideology which sees it as involving a ‘race problem’ or a ‘black problem’ or a ‘black youth problem’. This has been constructed over a number of decades. Paul Gilroy, for example, has shown the way in which, since the 1960s, an ideology has been developed, among politicians, the courts, the police and the media, which suggests that black people (particu- larly young black people) have more of a propensity to commit crime than the rest of the population;particularly certain types of street crime. This has been elaborated into a broader official ideology in which black people are perceived to be particularly susceptible to certain kinds of family pathology, an unwillingness to work, and a tendency to act as a mob (Gilroy, 1987: 72–113). John Solomos has argued that these themes were further intensified when the public confrontations and hostilities of the 1970s turned into the full-scale riots of the 1980s (Solomos, 1991: 88–118, 1989: 99–121). Both Gilroy and Solomos suggest that black youth came to stand as a symbol of more widespread fears about the breakdown of social cohesion and an increasingly violent society. Black youth were the collective image of violence on the streets, whether as the shadowy figure of the mugger or as the brick throwing, looting, rioter. The complete breakdown of police/black-community relations was entirely blamed on the black community: on their supposed problems with authority; their cultural difficulties with the ‘British way of life’; and their inability to identify with the police. This was perhaps most clearly reflected in the policy of appointing so-called ‘community liaison officers’ in an attempt to deal with the problem.Such an approach reflected an inability to see that the problem may involve police racism, and therefore an inability on the part of the police to identify with the black community, rather than the other way around. It also absolved all police officers(other than community liaison officers) from having to reflect on the relationship problem (Institute of Race Relations, 1978: 65–8). By the time I found myself interviewing police in the late 1980s all of this was in place – the relationship between the officers I spoke to and the ethnic minority communities they policed was thoroughly racialised. They under- stood their task as dealing with a special black crime problem, they experi- enced the relationship on the streets with black youngsters as a battleground, they saw the community as hostile, and at all times as a potential mob. Con- tainment and the control of territory was seen as the priority for a community that was so inherently different and problematic. In simply cataloguing the history of an ideological construction, however, we are in danger of making the mistake that Žižek warns against. We need to ask what is the nature of the police officer’s emotional attachment to these ideas? In other words we can see very well the discursive and institutional elements of such a ‘racialised’ relationship, but what does such ‘racialisation’ mean in affective terms? As Solomos and Gilroy suggest, black youth came to symbolise certain fears collectively held, and played upon by politicians, the media and others. One might go as far as to say that these collective fears (about a changing, strange, fragmenting and increasingly violent society) were (and still are) projected onto black youth. Police officers seem to be particularly susceptible to such fears. My experience is that police officers do not just make up ideas about impending disorder and crisis for fun or to get a wage rise, they really feel those fears and anxieties intensely. So is there any reason why police officers should experience such fears of change and social fluidity even more intensely than the rest of us? It is noteworthy that all the studies so far mentioned suggest that this ‘racialised’ ideology invariably focuses on certain themes – willingness to work, family pathology, behaviour on the streets, sexuality, recreational activities (party-going, drugs use, music etc.), and, of course, crime. These all link to ways in which the supposedly ‘problem’ community is perceived to differ from the ‘respectable’ com- munity. They are, ultimately, ways in which the population becomes fluid and threatens to evade the control of the police. Such concerns always arise among police officers, regardless of who the ‘problem’ ethnic minority com- munity are. There is a pattern here. This hostility to racial minorities can be seen within a broader picture of suspicion and hostility towards difference. This is an integral part of the police officer’s cognitive mapping of his/her locality. The strange, unexpected, differ- ent, stands out against a background of everyday normality. Jerome Skolnick writes of the ‘symbolic assailant’, the individual who gives clues in his unusual dress, attitude, behaviour or mannerisms to his (for the police) deviant and dangerous identity (Skolnick, 1966: Ch. 3). Such difference, and change in the social environment arouses feelings of threat. In Egon Bittner’s and Allan Silver’s work we see the further development of the notion that the police are in fact committed to an all-embracing social pacification function – to order and stasis on a grand scale. They are there to deal, quite simply, with ‘something-that-ought-not-to-be-happening-and-about-which-someone- had-better-do-something-now’ (Bittner, 1974, 1975). When everything is ‘as it should be’ – stable, predictable, orderly, familiar – the police officer feels at ease; he is happy and comfortable. The appearance of the ‘symbolic assailant’ against this background of the familiar and normal arouses feelings of sus- picion, threat, anxiety and so on. The police officer’s ‘cognitive maps’ are in fact affective maps.In Robert Reiner’s summary of ‘police relevant categories’ we can see further evidence of how police officers’ feelings traverse the social body in complex ways. Some criminals are associated with positive feelings. These are the ‘good class villains’ who themselves identify with the same ‘cult of mascu- linity’ (Smith and Gray use this latter phrase) as the police (Reiner, 1992: 118–21; Smith and Gray, 1985). They play the same cultural ‘game’ as the police; they provide the source of what the police themselves regard as ‘real police work’, they are therefore the key source of self-esteem and confir- mation of identity for the police. They may break the law but that does not make them a threat – quite the contrary. Dick Hobbs’ work has demonstrated the deeply symbiotic relationship between CID officers and such ‘entrepre- neurial’ criminals while Smith and Gray point to similar feelings and percep- tions amongst uniformed officers (Hobbs, 1989: 213; Smith and Gray, 1985: 213). As Foucault rightly points out, such ‘delinquency’ is a part of the system itself, it is a managed deviance which remains on the ‘inside’ (Foucault, 1987: 257–92). In contrast to ‘good class villains’, there is so-called ‘police property’ (Reiner, 1992: 118–21; Smith and Gray, 1985: 347–8). These are Skolnick’s ‘symbolic assailants’ – the marginalised social groups who create a real sense of threat, impending chaos, feelings of loathing and anger among police officers. They are the real threat to order in that they are not disciplined, they behave in unpredictable ways, their language cannot be understood, they will not be deferential to the authority of the police officer and they will not live and work in the ‘customary’ way. Policemen feel bad about these people and want to control them – despite the fact that they do not consider dealing with them to be proper police work (the most common term for such work, among police officers, is ‘rubbish’). The ‘hypocritical’ professional middle classes, in some circumstances, actu- ally try to undermine the police officer’s control over ‘police property’. ‘Chal- lengers’ and ‘do-gooders’ in the form of the doctor, the social worker, the lawyer, or the civil rights organisation, challenge (already inadequate) police powers and invade the sacred space of the police station. Reiner concludes that: Running through the perception of the social structure is a distinction between the powerless groups at the bottom of the social hierarchy who provide the ‘rubbish’ and the ‘police property’, and the respectable strata, with distinct seg- ments which in different ways threaten police interests. (Reiner, 1992: 121) This last phrase gets to the heart of the matter. While initially splitting the world into good and bad parts – the ‘respectable’ versus the rest – the good begins to vanish as one examines police categories. Ultimately one suspects that only the police themselves are really ‘good’, but thenpolice officers are actually suspicious of other police officers.4 Eventually we begin to see that in fact perceived threat emanates from almost everywhere in the police officer’s experience of the world. The ‘other’ onto which bad qualities are projected expands, and the little island of safety and order diminishes.
The breakdown of institutions like the prison and the criminal justice system tempt us to replicate the subject-forms of police and criminals in spaces like debate – but all ships have leaks, all pipes eventually burst. Our argument was scheduled for execution by the debate-police, but we’ve received a pardon from the Authorities-at-Large. We remain joyfully innocent. Resist the logic of control. Come with us if you want to live.
Deleuze and Guattari ’80. Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, 1874: THREE NOVELLAS, OR “WHAT HAPPENED?” p. 204 green = short
As Deligny says, it should be borne in mind that these lines mean nothing. It is an affair of cartography. They compose us, as they compose our map. They transform themselves and may even cross over into one another. Rhizome. It is certain that they have nothing to do with language; it is, on the contrary, language that must follow them, it is writing that must take sustenance from them, between its own lines. It is certain that they have nothing to do with a signifier, the determination of a subject by the signifier; instead, the signifier arises at the most rigidified level of one of the lines, and the subject is spawned at the lowest level. It is certain that they have nothing to do with a structure, which is never occupied by any- thing more than points and positions, by arborescences, and which always forms a closed system, precisely in order to prevent escape. Deligny invokes a common Body upon which these lines are inscribed as so many segments, thresholds, or quanta, territorialities, deterritorializations, or reterritorializations. The lines are inscribed on a Body without Organs, upon which everything is drawn and flees, which is itself an abstract line with neither imaginary figures nor symbolic functions: the real of the BwO. This body is the only practical object of schizoanalysis: What is your body without organs? What are your lines? What map are you in the process of making or rearranging? What abstract line will you draw, and at what price, for yourself and for others? What is your line of flight? What is your BwO, merged with that line? Are you cracking up? Are you going to crack up? Are you deterritorializing? Which lines are you severing, and which are you extending or resuming? Schizoanalysis does not pertain to elements or aggregates, nor to subjects, relations, or structures. It pertains only to lineaments running through groups as well as individuals. Schizoanalysis, as the analysis of desire, is immediately practical and political, whether it is a question of an individual, group, or society. For politics precedes being. Practice does not come after the emplacement of the terms and their relations, but actively participates in the drawing of the lines; it confronts the same dangers and the same variations as the emplacement does. Schizoanalysis is like the art of the new. Or rather, there is no problem of application: the lines it brings out could equally be the lines of a life, a work of literature or art, or a society, depending on which system of coordinates is chosen.
Line of molar or rigid segmentarity, line of molecular or supple seg- mentation, line of flight—many problems arise. The first concerns the particular character of each line. It might be thought that rigid segments are socially determined, predetermined, overcoded by the State; there may be a tendency to construe supple segmentarity as an interior activity, something imaginary or phantasmic. As for the line of flight, would it not be entirely personal, the way in which an individual escapes on his or her own account, escapes "responsibilities," escapes the world, takes refuge in the desert, or else in art... ? False impression. Supple segmentarity has nothing to do with the imaginary, and micropolitics is no less extensive or real than macropolitics. Politics on the grand scale can never administer its molar segments without also dealing with the micro- injections or infiltrations that work in its favor or present an obstacle to it; indeed, the larger the molar aggregates, the greater the molecularization of the agencies they put into play. Lines of flight, for their part, never consist in running away from the world but rather in causing runoffs, as when you drill a hole in a pipe; there is no social system that does not leak from all directions, even if it makes its segments increasingly rigid in order to seal the lines of flight. There is nothing imaginary, nothing symbolic, about a line of flight. There is nothing more active than a line of flight, among animals or humans.13 Even History is forced to take that route rather than proceeding by "signifying breaks." What is escaping in a soci- ety at a given moment? It is on lines of flight that new weapons are invented, to be turned against the heavy arms of the State. "I may be running, but I'm looking for a gun as I go" (George Jackson). It was along lines of flight that the nomads swept away everything in their path and found new weapons, leaving the Pharaoh thunderstruck. It is possible for a single group, or a single individual even, to exhibit all the lines we have been discussing simultaneously.But it is most frequently the case that a single group or individual functions as a line of flight; that group or individual creates the line rather than following it, is itself the living weapon it forges rather than stealing one. Lines of flight are realities; they are very dangerous for societies, although they can get by without them, and sometimes manage to keep them to a minimum.
Our research method might be odd, but that’s the point. We must resist control if politics is to become possible again.
Svirsky 10. Marcelo Svirsky, professor of critical and cultural theory at Cardiff University (UK), “Introduction: Beyond the Royal Science of Politics,” Deleuze Studies Vol 4: 2010, pg. 2
As Deleuze and Guattari have explained, this characteristic ‘royal’ science of politics ‘continually appropriates the contents of vague or nomad science’–those forms of political investigation looking ‘to understand both the repression it encounters and the interaction ‘ “containing” it’ (Deleuze and Guattari 1987: 367–8). One major task of new activist war machines is, then, to escape entrapment within the black hole of the majoritarian discourse on civil society, captured and defined by pervasive notions of ‘representative participation’. Although the ‘NGOisation’ of the public sphere since the 1980s (see Yacobi 2007), together with other forms of political proliferation, have broadened thevisiblepolitical field, the potential of non-institutional forms of action has been weakened ideologically by a whole state apparatus comprised of research centres and budgets, instrumental teaching, and a parliamentary politicsthat has incorporated the discourse of civil society – all of which have effected a sectorisation of society and political life.The epistemological aspirations of the three ‘ideal circles’ (Deleuze and Guattari 1987: 367) of the state, economy and civil society are commonly used to categorise political eruptions as forms of participation in the official, representative state politics. It is in this light that we must interpret the failure of academia to come to terms with the division of labour lately being imposed by the transversal relations between intellectual investigation and political situatedness embodied in militant research. As Deleuze and Guattari suggest, ‘we know of the problems States have always had with journey-men’s associations or compagnonnages, the nomadic or itinerant bodies . . . ’ (368).
It is clear that a Jamesonian ‘strategy of containment’ is at work in the narrative tradition of royal political science. It is in the notion of ‘representative participation’ that a function of formal unity or a strategy of containment has been founded, which, as Jameson puts it, ‘allows what can be thought to seem internally coherent in its own terms, while repressing the unthinkable . . . which lies beyond its boundaries’ (Jameson 1981: 38). By tying official politics together with every form of political participation it can ensnare, what royal political science does is ‘radically impoverish . . . the data of one narrative line’ – namely, that of the new activisms–‘by their rewriting according to the paradigm of another narrative...’–namely, that of representative participatory politics (Jameson 1981: 22). The subversive power of political potentia is thus contained by this reductive strategy; civil society becomes the main territory of this imprisonment, assisted by a false equation of official participation with challenging politics.