You don't get the nomadic state in D&G. In absolute de jure terms the state
and the war machine (nomads) are mutually exclusive (i.e. quite different)?
>so I simply have to ask where in D&G do you get a nomadic
>state? The reason I ask is D&G's nomadic concept seems to point very
>much in the direction of a thing outside the state. That is, the state
>is a not a generalised thing, but has all sorts of gaps. By that I
>would say it is historically specific and also have all sorts of
>holes which make borders on which the state already is and will wither
But lets look at some actual nomads: mongols, sioux, 17th century pirates,
etc. Can you say that they have no "state"? Really? That's the siginficance
of this notion that the beginnings of the state are prehuman. By
"prestatist", we do not mean "no state", but only that the state is not
In absolute terms the state is the organism (strata) that is parasitic on
the rhizome, tho?
>Yes, the war machine for one, but also in aesthetics a sort of space
>(haptic space in D&G, ATP) that is outside of the state and has to be
>appropriated by the state, if it so wishes.
I am not saying the state is "all there is", "fully formed", etc. Just that
the state is more significant, pernacious, subtle, and thoroughgoing than we
sometimes think, and paradoxically, at the same time, comically ill-formed,
insignificant, and lacking in real sociopsychological extension.
>But if the nomad has the
>state in it, that makes my thinking difficult, as I outlined above,
>except to say that we are in history. In which case this raises the
>question of both resisting history and the state.
"Nomads" in which sense, "philosophical" or "historical"? Thinking about the
mongols, the sioux, et al as abolsutely exterior to the state is just wrong.
You have to ask yourself what the state *is* (I mean what are its traits,
what does it *do*). Now its main thing is regulating. Does it surprise you
that nomad societies are very regulated? Much less like BwOs or packs than
you might think, actually.
>I'll not risk pushing this thinking any further, right now. (Karen, I
>Also, Chris, on your saying there is no superstructure... this is
>fine if you think superstructure as transcendental, forming a
>vertical plane to the horizontal base. But I am getting a reading
>from you that you are putting it all on the same plane, in which case
>the superstructure will be there on this plane. Am I misunderstanding
Not at all. Where does the generalized mode of production end and ideology
begin? Where is that line between material capital and symbolic capital? I'm
imagining these economies, composed of concrete and abstract machines, those
machines being semiautonomous (by which I mean things are transformed as
they cross thresholds) but they do cross thosie thresholds, real capital can
make symbolic, & vice versa.
But I'm not imagining this superstructure as totally sublated, either. Nor
is the base totally "base", etc. Sublation has a major part to play, of
course, all "right&wrong" (as long as you only break the "bad rules") is
just sublated value operating as surplus value (i.e. coopted by some ideal).
>And then I also think of D&G's strata as being very
>much like Marx's superstructure.
Not really. The strata is the whole damn "sivilization", base and
superstructure. The strata is crystalizing, organizing, organicising, both
abstract and concrete, real and symbolic, word and deed, money and magic,
base and superstructure. The strata/rhizome distinction operates on a
different categorical level to the base/superstructure distinction.
>Didn't Marx argue that the machinary
>of the state gets erected on the economic base?
Well ... as far as one can systematize Marx ... I suppose, generally, Marx
thought that the state was mainly there to protect the property of the
ruling class. So the generalized mode of production, say slave or feudal or
bourgeois comes first, and the state arrives secondarily to guarantee that?
But I'm saying, with Jameson (& D&G, I think) that the generalized mode of
production os not just regulated by the state, rather it is already a state,
a system of regulation regulating who does what to whom on what deay of the
year, etc. Though that's stating it too strongly. Better to say that the
generalized mode of production and the state are so intimate as to be almost
>It has been over a
>decade or two since I read Contribution to Critique of Political
>Economy but when you start pulling this thinking apart you get a very
>different reading to what the crude metaphor may suggest, especially
>read with Capital Vol 1.
I think so too. I don't think marx was a "vulgar Marxist". I think he had to
do battle with the myths of individualist/greatman/bourgeois history which
sees man envisaging his society and then creating ot, like an engineer ...
so he spent more time emphasising the idea that "ideas" do not "make
history", ideas are more often just prodicts of history (history being
driven by the class struggle, that being itself determined in its details by
the generalized mode of production). But Marx would have, I think, also
allowed that thought can sometimes seem to precede history?
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