The syntax of difference: Gilles Deleuze and media theory

Sutherland, Thomas (2015) The syntax of difference: Gilles Deleuze and media theory. In: Work-in-Progress Day, 28 October 2015, University of Melbourne.

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In an interview conducted earlier this year, media theorist Alexander Galloway declared that it is ‘imperative today that we forget Deleuzianism in all its many guises’, arguing that the usage of Gilles Deleuze’s philosophical concepts within media studies ‘forecloses any kind of utopian thinking that might entail an alternative to our many pervasive and invasive networks’. After all, Deleuze’s entire project forgoes any claim to a timeless or universal truth, emphasizing instead the heterogenetic capacities of philosophy to create new truths, new modalities of thought, and new ways of living. Philosophical concepts should therefore not be judged in terms of their correspondence to an invariable external reality, for their entire purpose is to invent a new reality.

Media theory (or any other kind of critical theory), however, is not coterminous with philosophy, and cannot be straightforwardly judged on the same terms. Accordingly, using the work of Deleuze as a case study – and in doing so, highlighting the nebulous disjuncture between his metaphysics and metaphilosophy – I consider the problems that can arise when metaphysical conventions and idioms are extricated from the established practices of philosophical disputation, and placed into a field such as media studies that is still grounded by an empirical object of study.

Keywords:continental philosophy, media theory, non-philosophy, Gilles Deleuze
Subjects:P Mass Communications and Documentation > P300 Media studies
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V500 Philosophy
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Film & Media > Lincoln School of Film & Media (Media)
ID Code:26936
Deposited On:10 Apr 2017 08:27

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