desire + social-production

  ---- by Eugene Holland
  Schizoanalysis uses the pivotal term 'desiring-production', in tandem with 'social-production', to link Sigmund Freud and Karl Marx: the term conjoins libido and labour-power as distinct instances of production-ingeneral. Just as bourgeois political economy discovered that the essence of economic value does not inhere in objects but is invested in them by subjective activity in the form of labour-power, bourgeois psychiatry discovered that the essence of erotic value does not inhere in objects but is invested in them by subjective activity in the form of libidinal cathexis. Schizoanalysis adds the discovery that labour-power and libido are in essence two sides of the same coin, even though they are separated by capitalism in its historically unique segregation of reproduction from production at large via the privatisation of reproduction in the nuclear family.
  The concept of desiring-production prevents desire from being understood in terms of 'lack' (as it has been in western metaphysics from Plato to Freud): desiring-production actually produces what we take to be reality (in the sense that a lawyer produces evidence) through the investment of psychical energy (libido), just as social-production produces what we take to be reality through the investment of corporeal energy (labour-power). Desire is thus not a fantasy of what we lack: it is first and foremost the psychical and corporeal production of what we want even though under certain conditions what we want subsequently gets taken away from us by the repressive figure of a castrating father or the oppressive figure of an exploitative boss (among others). By restoring the link between desiring- production and social-production, schizoanalysis deprives psychoanalysis of its excuse for and justification of repression; that psychic repression is somehow autonomous from social oppression, and exists independent of social conditions. Schizoanalysis insists on the contrary that 'social-production is purely and simply desiring-production itself under determinate conditions' (D&G 1983: 29), and that psychic repression therefore derives from social oppression: transform those social conditions, and you transform the degree and form of psychic repression as well.
  There are two basic forms of desiring-production: schizophrenia, the free form of desire promoted half-heartedly by capitalism and wholeheartedly by schizoanalysis; and paranoia, the fixed form of desire subjected to socially-authorised belief (in God, the father, the boss, the teacher, the leader, and so on). There are three modes of social-production, each of which oppresses/represses desiring-production in a specific way. Of the three, capitalism is the most promising, because it at least is ambivalent: it actively fosters both forms of desiring-production, whereas its predecessors always did their utmost to crush the one in favour of the other. Capitalism frees desiring-production from capture and repression by codes and representations, while at the same time it recaptures and represses desiring-production in mostly temporary codes and representations, but also in the more enduring forms of State-sponsored nationalism, the Oedipus complex and the nuclear family.
  It is because schizoanalysis insists that social-production always provides the determinate conditions under which desiring-production takes shape that it can hold the mode of social-production responsible for that shape; that is, schizoanalysis evaluates a mode of social-production according to the form of desiring-production it makes possible. The value of capitalism as a mode of social-production is not only the extraordinary material productivity so admired by Marx, but even more its propensity for generating schizophrenia as the radically free form of desiringproduction. And the corresponding challenge to schizoanalysis as a revolutionary psychiatry is to eliminate the countervailing forces that recapture free desire and subject it to paranoia and belief, forces operating in institutions ranging from the nuclear family and Oedipal psychoanalysis, to the bureaucracy of private enterprise, all the way up to and including the State.

The Deleuze dictionary. . 2010.

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