minoritarian
  ---- by Verena Conley
  'Minoritarian' is often used in relation to postcolonial theory and the concept of minor literature. The term is developed in connection with language and the 'order-word', that is, a pass-word that both compels obedience and opens passages. In this sense Deleuze argues that language, because it deals with the art of the possible, is fundamentally political. The scientific undertaking of extracting constants is always coupled with the political enterprise of social control that works by imposing them on speakers and transmitting order-words. In order to cope with this condition Deleuze states that we need to distinguish between a major and minor language, that is, between a power (pouvoir) of constants and a power (puissance) of variables. In the political sphere where a 'major' language is seen and heard, there also inheres in its form a 'minor' element that does not exist independently or outside of its expression and statements.
  The more a language has or acquires the characteristics of a major form, the more likely it is to be affected by continuous variations that can transpose it into a minor language. A language always has internal minorities. No homogeneous system remains unaffected by immanent processes of variation. Constants do not exist side by side with variables; they are drawn from the variables themselves. Major and minor are two different usages of the same language. A minor language opens a passage in the order-word that constitutes any of the operative redundancies of the major language. The problem is not the distinction between major and minor language but one of becoming. A person (a subject, but also a creative and active individual) has to deterritorialise the major language rather than reterritorialise herself within an inherited dialect. Recourse to a minor language puts the major language into flight. Minoritarian authors are those who are foreigners in their own tongue.
  A minority is not defined by the paucity of its numbers but by its capacity to become or, in its subjective geography, to draw for itself lines of fluctuation that open up a gap and separate it from the axiom constituting a redundant majority. A majority is linked to a state of power and domination. What defines majorities and minorities are the relations internal to number. For the majority, this relation constitutes a set that is denumerable. The minority is nodenumerable, but it may have many elements. The non-denumerable is characterised by the presence of connections, that is, the additive conjunction 'and' or the mathematical sign '+': a minoritarian language is 'x +y and b + traits a + a and . . .'. It is produced between sets and belongs to neither. It eludes them and constitutes a line of flight. In mathematical terms Deleuze remarks that the axiomatic world of the majority manipulates only denumerable sets. Minorities, by contrast, constitute non-axiomatic (or axiomisable) sets, that is, masses or multiplicities of escape and flux. The majority assumes a standard measure, represented by the integral integer, say, an armed white male or those acting like one. Domination always translates into hegemony. A determination that differs from the constant is considered minoritarian. Majority is an abstract standard that can be said to include no one and thus speak in the name of nobody. A minority is a deviation from the model or a becoming of everybody (tout le monde). The majoritarian mode is a constant while its minoritarian counterpart is a subsystem. Minoritarian is seen as potential (puissance), creative and in becoming. Blacks, Jews, Arabs or women can only create by making possible a becoming, but never through ownership. Deleuze states clearly that a majority is never a becoming.
  Deleuze observes that our age is becoming the age of minorities. Minorities are defined not by number but by becoming and by their lines of fluctuation. Minorities are objectively definable states. One can also think of them as seeds of becoming whose value is to trigger uncontrollable fluctuations and deterritorialisations. A minor language is a major language in the process of becoming minor, and a minority a majority in the process of change. Becoming, as Deleuze states time and again in his work on politics, literature and the arts, is creation. It is the becoming of everybody. In the process of becoming minor, the figure of death (nobody) gives way to life (everybody).
  Connectives
   § becoming
   § deterritorialisation
   § majoritarian
   § order-word
   § power

The Deleuze dictionary. . 2010.

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