socius


socius
  ---- by Kenneth Surin
  Traditional philosophy relied overwhelmingly on the operation of transcendental principles which were required to make claims possible, as well as moral aesthetic judgements. There are also transcendental principles, perhaps less widely acknowledged than the ones that underlie traditional philosophy, which subtend the constitution of the social order. These principles are embodied in what Deleuze and Guattari call the 'socius'. The well-known philosophical counter-tradition inaugurated by Friedrich Nietzsche, and continued by Martin Heidegger, undertook a dismantling of the transcendental basis of traditional philosophy, and the work of Deleuze is to be located in this tradition. For Deleuze, as for Nietzsche, an entire tradition extends from Plato to Kant, in which it is declared that the yardstick of knowledge is verisimilitude. In Plato's case verisimilitude derives from an ideal 'world of Forms' (the transcendent), whereas for Immanuel Kant this world of the transcendent was banished to the realm of the 'noumenal absolute'. Kant, though, insisted that the counterpart to the noumenal world, for example the world of phenomena, was constituted by the activity of the transcendental (or non-empirically given) subject of possible experience. In their reflection on the socius, conducted throughout the two volumes of Capitalism and Schizophrenia, Deleuze and Guattari seek what amounts to a comprehensive undoing of the transcendental basis of the constitution of the social order. In so doing, they adhere to the 'transcendental empiricism', in which the basis for the constitution of real (as opposed to possible) experience is sought. This project is 'transcendental' in so far as the conditions for real experience require a nonempirical organisation of the objects of experience, though the source of this organisation is not a transcendental subject À la Kant, but rather the very form in which real objects are experienced as active and dynamic.
  In Anti-Oedipus, the socius is said to be necessary because desiringproduction is coterminous with social production and reproduction, and for the latter to take place desire has to be coded and recoded, so that subjects can be prepared for their social roles and functions. The socius is the terrain of this coding and recoding. Another rationale for the socius stems from the part it plays in consolidating the capitalist order. Desire is simultaneously enabled and limited by capital, which frees it from its previous embodiments or codings so that it can be placed at the disposal of capitalist expansion; and desire, after this decoding by capital, is reined in or recoded so that it can subserve the novel requirements of capitalist production.
  Coding or 'inscription' are thus central to the constitution of the socius, and Deleuze and Guattari respond to the crucial question of the surface on which inscription takes place by invoking the notion of the earth. The earth precedes the constitution of the socius, and is the primordial unity or ground of desire and production. As such the earth is the precondition of production while also being the object of desire. The first form of the socius has therefore to involve a territorialisation, undertaken by a 'territorial machine', which parcels out the earth into segments of social meaning.
  Once territorialisation has occurred, it becomes possible for social machines (the core of the socius) to operate. Social machines have humans as their parts and are essential to the generation of cultural forms, these forms being needed to link humans to their (technical) machines. Social machines organise flows of power and desire by coding them. There are all kinds of flows: different kinds of humans, vegetation, non-human animals, agricultural implements, flows that involve bodily functions and organs, and so on. Nothing escapes coding, and so nothing can escape the purview of the socius.
  If the socius is a megamachine, the fuel that drives this machine is desire, though desire is shaped and orchestrated by its insertion into this megamachine. In modern societies, the nature of this insertion of desire into the social megamachine has been significantly transformed. To facilitate the functioning of capitalism, flows have had to become more abstract, since capital requires intersubstitutibility, homogeneity, relentless quantification, and exchange mechanisms to work. Hand in hand with this abstraction goes a privatisation of the social, since an over-valuation of the individual is required to compensate for the massive collective disinvestment that takes place in the social as a result of the inexorable growth of the processes of abstraction. The vehicles of this privatisation are ruled by the Oedipus principle, which functions as a kind of transcendental regime for the investment of social desire. Other principles, primarily concerned with morality and punishment, but also with death and cruelty, are effective in this domain too.
  Dispensing with psychoanalysis as the ontology for how a socius is constituted, Deleuze and Guattari find it necessary to replace Freudianism with a different ontology. The alternative - called 'schizoanalysis' or 'nomadology' - begins by refusing any kind of transcendental principle purporting to serve as the ground of the socius. In place of the logic of necessity and continuity that characterised previous social ontologies, Deleuze and Guattari opt for one that is marked by ruptures, limits, singularities, ironies and contingencies. Traditional logic displaces desire as the motor driving the social megamachine. Schizoanalysis or nomadology provide a new conception of experience and desiring-production, emphasising forms of experimentation not constrained by the ego or Oedipal structures, as well as the need to create new forms of collective (as opposed to merely individual) liberation. Importantly, this kind of liberation cannot be sponsored either by the State or capital.
  Connectives
   § capitalism
   § desire
   § earth / land
   § psychoanalysis

The Deleuze dictionary. . 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • socius — ⇒SOCIUS, subst. masc. SOCIOL. Composante sociale du comportement et de la vie mentale d un être vivant. Car la psychologie sociale, proposons nous, est avant tout psychologie: psychologie de l homme comme socius, et non de la société, soit de l… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Socĭus — (lat.), 1) Theilnehmer, Verbündeter, Genoß; 2) der mit Anderen an einer Arbeit Theil nimmt; bes. hießen Socii navales die Bemannung auf einem Schiffe, die Ruderer u. die Matrosen im Gegensatze zu den Schiffssoldaten; 3) Bundesgenoß; über die… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Socĭus — Socĭus, s. Sozius …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Socius —    • Socius,          в отношении к частному праву. Товарищество или societas соединяет несколько лиц (socii) для достижения общих целей и налагает на них известные обязанности. Socii имеют для защиты друг против друга так называемую actio pro… …   Реальный словарь классических древностей

  • SOCIUS — Hebr. Gap desc: Hebrew alias a sita muteth, se reclinans, in alterius scil. sinum (qui olim et accumbentium in mensa ritus) Hebraeis nomen fuit altioris gradus discipulorum, ut supra videre est voce Rab …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • socius —    by Kenneth Surin   Traditional philosophy relied overwhelmingly on the operation of transcendental principles which were required to make claims possible, as well as moral aesthetic judgements. There are also transcendental principles, perhaps …   The Deleuze dictionary

  • socius —   n. (pl. ii) member; companion; associate; individual.    ♦ socius criminis, accomplice in crime …   Dictionary of difficult words

  • socius — ˈsōshēəs noun (plural socii ēˌī) Etymology: Latin more at social 1. : associate, colleague was procurator and socius to the vice provincial R.J.Purcell …   Useful english dictionary

  • socius — so·ci·us …   English syllables

  • socius — /s6wsh(iy)as/ In the civil law, a partner …   Black's law dictionary


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