- ---- by Claire ColebrookOn the one hand, Deleuze might appear to be a philosopher set against the dominant image of repression, that being repression in its everyday sense and in its technical psychoanalytic sense. At its most general the concept of 'repression' would seem to imply a natural self or subject who precedes the operation of power of socialisation (so that all we would have to do is lift the strictures of repression to arrive at who we really are). The concept of repression seems, then, to be associated with the idea of a pre-social self who must then undergo socialisation or structuration. Deleuze wants to avoid this naīvety, and so to a certain extent he accepts the productive nature of repression as it was put forward by Sigmund Freud and then Jacques Lacan. It is only because of our existence within a symbolic order, or perceived system, that we imagine that there must have been a real 'me' prior to the net of repression. For psychoanalysis, then, it is not the self who is repressed, for the self - the fantasy of that which exists before speech, relations and sociality - is an effect of the idea of repression. Repression is primary and produces its own ' before'. Deleuze accepts this Lacanian/Freudian picture up to a point. With Guattari he argues that there are Oedipal structures of repression. Living in a modern age, we are indeed submitted to a system of signification. We then imagine that there must have been a moment of plenitude and jouissance prior to Oedipal repression, and that we must therefore have desired the maternal incest prohibited by the structures of the family. But Deleuze and Guattari regard repression - or the internalisation of subjection - as a modern phenomenon that nevertheless draws upon archaic structures and images.Deleuze and Guattari's main attack on what Michel Foucault (in The History of Sexuality: Volume One) referred to as 'the repressive hypothesis' occurs in Anti-Oedipus. Whereas Freud's Oedipus complex seeks to explain why and how we are repressed - how it is that we submit to law and renounce our enjoyment - Deleuze and Guattari argue that we suffer from the idea of repression itself, the idea that there is some ultimate object that we have abandoned. Psychoanalysis supposedly explains our repression by arguing that we all desired our mothers but had to abandon incest for the sake of social and cultural development. Deleuze and Guattari argue that this repressive idea of renunciation and submission is a historical and political development. Desire, they insist, is not the desire for some forbidden object, a desire that we must necessarily repress. Rather, all life is positive desire - expansion, connection, creation. It is not that we must repress our desire for incest. Rather, the idea of incest - that we are inevitably familial and desire only the impossible maternal object - is itself repressive. What it represses is not a personal desire, but the impersonality of desire or the intense germinal inﬂux. To imagine ourselves as rational individuals, engaged in negotiation and the management of our drives this idea of ourselves as bourgeois, selfgoverning, commonsensical agents - represses the desire for non-familial, impersonal, chaotic and singular configurations of life. We are repressed, then, not by a social order that prohibits the natural desire for incest, but by the image that our desires 'naturally' take the form of Oedipal and familial images.The late modern understanding of the self or subject as necessarily subjected to law is the outcome of a history of political development that has covered over the originally expansive, excessive and constructive movements of desire. A number of philosophical movements, including psychoanalysis, have explained life from the point of view of the already repressed subject, the bourgeois individual who has submitted his desires to the system of the polity and the market. Against this, Deleuze and Guattari aim to reveal the positive desire behind repression. In the case of Oedipal repression, it is the desire of the father - the desire of white, modern, bourgeois man - that lies at the heart of the idea of all selves as necessarily subjected to repressive power.Connectives§ desire§ psychoanalysis§ woman
The Deleuze dictionary. Revised Edition Edited by Adrian Parr . 2010.