rhizome


rhizome
  ---- by Felicity J.Colman
  'Rhizome' describes the connections that occur between the most disparate and the most similar of objects, places and people; the strange chains of events that link people: the feeling of 'six degrees of separation', the sense of 'having been here before' and assemblages of bodies. Deleuze and Guattari's concept of the 'rhizome' draws from its etymological meaning, where 'rhizo' means combining form and the biological term 'rhizome' describes a form of plant that can extend itself through its underground horizontal tuber-like root system and develop new plants. In Deleuze and Guattari's use of the term, the rhizome is a concept that 'maps' a process of networked, relational and transversal thought, and a way of being without 'tracing' the construction of that map as a fixed entity (D&G 1987: 12). Ordered lineages of bodies and ideas that trace their originary and individual bases are considered as forms of 'aborescent thought', and this metaphor of a tree-like structure that orders epistemologies and forms historical frames and homogeneous schemata, is invoked by Deleuze and Guattari to describe everything that rhizomatic thought is not.
  In addition, Deleuze and Guattari describe the rhizome as an action of many abstract entities in the world, including music, mathematics, economics, politics, science, art, the ecology and the cosmos. The rhizome conceives how every thing and every body - all aspects of concrete, abstract and virtual entities and activities - can be seen as multiple in their interrelational movements with other things and bodies. The nature of the rhizome is that of a moving matrix, composed of organic and non-organic parts forming symbiotic and aparallel connections, according to transitory and as yet undetermined routes (D & G 1987: 10). Such a reconceptualisation constitutes a revolutionary philosophy for the reassessment of any form of hierarchical thought, history or activity.
  In a world that builds structures from economic circuits of difference and desire, Deleuze responds by reconsidering how bodies are constructed. He and Guattari argue that such structures constrain creativity and position things and people into regulatory orders. In A Thousand Plateaus, Deleuze and Guattari staged the entire book as a series of networked rhizomatic 'plateaus' that operate to counter historical and philosophical positions pitched toward the system of representation that fix the flow of thought. Instead, through a virtuoso demonstration of the relational energies able to be configured through often disparate forms and systems of knowledge, they offer the reader an open system of thought. Rhizomatic formations can serve to overcome, overturn and transform structures of rigid, fixed or binary thought and judgement - the rhizome is 'anti-genealogy' (D&G 1987: 11). A rhizome contributes to the formation of a plateau through its lines of becoming, which form aggregate connections. There are no singular positions on the networked lines of a rhizome, only connected points which form connections between things. A rhizomatic plateau of thought, Deleuze and Guattari suggest, may be reached through the consideration of the potential of multiple and relational ideas and bodies. The rhizome is any network of things brought into contact with one another, functioning as an assemblage machine for new affects, new concepts, new bodies, new thoughts; the rhizomatic network is a mapping of the forces that move and/or immobilise bodies.
  Deleuze and Guattari insist bodies and things ceaselessly take on new dimensions through their contact with different and divergent entities over time; in this way the concept of the 'rhizome' marks a divergent way of conceptualising the world that is indicative of Deleuzian philosophy as a whole. Rather than reality being thought of and written as an ordered series of structural wholes, where semiotic connections or taxonomies can be compiled from complete root to tree-like structure, the story of the world and its components, Deleuze and Guattari propose, can be communicated through the rhizomatic operations of things - movements, intensities and polymorphous formations. In opposition to descendent evolutionary models of classification, rhizomes have no hierarchical order to their compounding networks. Instead, Deleuzian rhizomatic thinking functions as an open-ended productive configuration, where random associations and connections propel, sidetrack and abstract relations between components. Any part within a rhizome may be connected to another part, forming a milieu that is decentred, with no distinctive end or entry point.
  Deleuze's apparatus for describing affective change is the 'rhizome'. Deleuze viewed every operation in the world as the affective exchange of rhizomatically-produced intensities that create bodies: systems, economies, machines and thoughts. Each and every body is propelled and perpetuated by innumerable levels of the affective forces of desire and its resonating materialisations. Variations to any given system can occur because of interventions within cyclical, systematic repetition. As the rhizome may be constituted with an existing body - including existing thoughts one might bring to bear upon another body - the rhizome is necessarily subject to the principles of diversity and difference through repetition, which Deleuze discussed in his books Nietzsche and Philosophy and Difference and Repetition.
  Deleuze acknowledges Friedrich Nietzsche's concept of the eternal return as the constitution of things through repeated elements (existing bodies, modes of thought) that form a 'synthesis' of difference through the repetition of elements (D 1983: 46). 'Synthesis' is also described by Deleuze and Guattari as an assemblage of variable relations produced by the movement, surfaces, elusions and relations of rhizomes that form bodies (desiring machines) through composite chains of previously unattached links (D&G 1983: 39, 327). As a non-homogeneous sequence, then, the rhizome describes a series that may be composed of causal, chance, and/or random links. Rhizomatic connections between bodies and forces produce an affective energy or entropy. As Deleuze describes in his work on David Hume, the interaction of a socially, politically, or culturally determined force and any given body both produces and uses associations of ideas (D 1991: ix, 103). The discontinuous chain is the medium for the rhizome's expanding network, just as it is also the contextual circumstance for the chain's production.
  Rhizomatic writing, being, and/or becoming is not simply a process that assimilates things, rather it is a milieu of perpetual transformation. The relational milieu that the rhizome creates gives form to evolutionary environments where relations alter the course of how flows and collective desire develop. There is no stabilising function produced by the rhizomatic medium; there is no creation of a whole out of virtual and dispersed parts. Rather, through the rhizome, points form assemblages, multiple journey systems associate into possibly disconnected or broken topologies; in turn, such assemblages and typologies change, divide, and multiply through disparate and complex encounters and gestures. The rhizome is a powerful way of thinking without recourse to analogy or binary constructions. To think in terms of the rhizome is to reveal the multiple ways that you might approach any thought, activity, or a concept - what you always bring with you are the many and various ways of entering any body, of assembling thought and action through the world.
  Connectives
   § affect
   § becoming
   § desire
   § Hume, David
   § intensity

The Deleuze dictionary. . 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • RHIZOME — En morphologie végétale, un rhizome est une tige souterraine garnie de racines adventives, à feuilles réduites à des écailles ou absentes, et terminée par un bourgeon, souvent d’abord horizontal (portion rhizomateuse à sa première année), puis… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Rhizome — Rhi*zome , n. [Gr. ??? the mass of roots (of a tree), a stem, race, fr. ??? to make to root, pass., to take root, fr. ??? a root: cf. F. rhizome.] (Bot.) A rootstock. See {Rootstock}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • rhizome — 1832, from Gk. rhizoma mass of tree roots, from rhizoun cause to strike root, from rhiza root, probably from PIE *wrad branch, root (Cf. L. radix root, O.N. rot root, O.E. wyrt plant, herb; se …   Etymology dictionary

  • rhizome — ► NOUN ▪ a horizontal underground plant stem with lateral shoots and adventitious roots at intervals. ORIGIN Greek rhiz ma, from rhiza root …   English terms dictionary

  • rhizome — [rī′zōm΄] n. [ModL rhizoma < Gr rhizōma < rhizousthai, to take root < rhiza,ROOT1] a creeping stem lying, usually horizontally, at or under the surface of the soil and differing from a root in having scale leaves, bearing leaves or… …   English World dictionary

  • rhizome —    by Felicity J.Colman    Rhizome describes the connections that occur between the most disparate and the most similar of objects, places and people; the strange chains of events that link people: the feeling of six degrees of separation , the… …   The Deleuze dictionary

  • Rhizome — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Rhizome (homonymie). Le rhizome d une plante est la partie souterraine et parfois subaquatique (ex : pour l iris pseudacorus) de la tige de certaines plantes vivaces …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Rhizome — This article is about the botanical term. For other uses, see Rhizome (disambiguation). A harvested ginger rhizome …   Wikipedia

  • rhizome — rhizomatous /ruy zom euh teuhs, zoh meuh /, adj. /ruy zohm/, n. Bot. a rootlike subterranean stem, commonly horizontal in position, that usually produces roots below and sends up shoots progressively from the upper surface. [1835 45; < NL rhizoma …   Universalium

  • rhizome — UK [ˈraɪzəʊm] / US [ˈraɪˌzoʊm] noun [countable] Word forms rhizome : singular rhizome plural rhizomes biology a thick plant stem that grows along the ground and produces roots and new plant growth …   English dictionary


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