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A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia Paperback – December 21, 1987

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Editorial Reviews


"'A rare and remarkable book, which offers us a new metaphysics.' Times Literary Supplement" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Language Notes

Text: English, French (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 632 pages
  • Publisher: University of Minnesota Press; 1 edition (December 21, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10:  0816614024
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816614028
  • ASIN: 0816614024
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,876 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

232 of 254 people found the following review helpful By Adam Greenfield on October 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
I'm not particularly erudite, and I'm certainly not a genius. My schooling has left me (for better or worse) without any familiarity with some of the philosophers, artists and writers D&G namecheck as lynchpins of their untimely meditation.
Why, then, would I struggle with this 800-odd page monstrosity of densely-referential Gallic thought? Why am I here recommending that you do it?
Well...because it's worth the long, thorny trudge. You've got to get around some idiosyncratic vocabulary, but that's OK. Because, in fact, *A Thousand Plateaus* presents a credible candidacy for Philosophy for our Time (if you can still believe in that). The concept of the rhizome alone - burrowing, nonhierarchical, endlessly foliating thought - let alone fertile ideas like nomadology or the Body without Organs: once grasped, these are extraordinarily useful figures that can wind up restoring some sense of agency (and subversiveness, and fun) to your intellectual life. They're perfectly suited, especially, to life and work in the age of the deeply rhizomorphic Internet.
Remember, you're smart enough to understand this stuff. (I had to keep reminding myself.) Reading with partners or in groups helps, a lot. There really is a *vast* amount of provocative and useful thought in here. Go for it.
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57 of 60 people found the following review helpful By M. Fisher on May 9, 2008
Format: Paperback
Why? Because your critical theory seminar was probably oversimplifying, and you're missing out on a radical piece of performance in book form. Thousand Plateaus is not 400 pages about rhizomes or nomads. That's just the vocabulary. And, I disagree with some of the other reviews here. It's not a torture to read; it's just not talking down to you. It's put together like a large circular sentence. You start somewhere in middle, or maybe at the beginning or end, not sure. You have to play catchup at first, but you will get the hang of it.
If it sounds like the structure of certain recent films (say, by David Lynch, Robert Altman, Paul Thomas Anderson) or works of fiction (like by Samuel Delaney, Haruki Murakami, or Thomas Pynchon) or minimal techno, or most museum biennials these days, then good, it should. Thousand Plateaus help to establish a framework for all of those things.
The book tries to establish a system of political, psychological and semiotic descriptions, always as a mode of resistance to all kinds of fascism, and D & G take the conflation of those levels as a given. Not just in the world of theory but also in how you think, and that's why it's written in such a particularly dense way. It tries very hard to be nonoppressive, and generous too, but for lots of people it can be a frustrating adjustment, accustomed as we are to writing that tries to be as flat and simple as possible. This book reads the way it thinks, and these two definitely prefer finesse to simplicity. Once you get into it, you may find that it's the best thing you've read for as long as you can remember. Or, at least that it makes you think in ways you don't while reading other books.
Being brainy continentals, these guys make reference to a store of intellectual history you won't be able to relate to.
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54 of 60 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 14, 1999
Format: Hardcover
THE LATE French philosopher Gilles Deleuze seemed to provide the answer. "Deleuze talks about the production of space and power relations, and all that appeals very much to architects," says Lynn. According to Lynn, the Deleuze boom started in 1987, with the translation into English of A Thousand Plateaus. Thanks to his singular combination of disdain and reverence for techno-capitalism, Deleuze had an immediate and obvious appeal to today's cyberarchitects. A member of the radical French left, Deleuze viewed the triumph of capitalism as inevitable. In his writing, he is in turn horrified by and admiring of capitalism's raw power and extraordinary fecundity in transforming the world. But capitalism's strength, according to Deleuze, is also its weakness. As it moves toward global dominance, capitalism's inherent instability becomes increasingly susceptible to manipulation. Rather than preaching outright revolution, Deleuze proposes a "micropolitics": the establishment of local zones of freedom that tap the energies of capitalism to create a "war machine" against the "state apparatus."
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61 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Jason Cullen on October 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
I don't normally bother reviewing books. However I had to respond to something another reviewer said:

"you can't read this while listening to music, trust me"

Actually you can but I recommend the music of anti-essentialists, Phoenicia's "Brownout" is an excellent soundtrack to the plateau on the refrain. The text of the book is the opsign of time-images, music, or, rather, sound, of deterritorialisation is the sonsign. Fittingly, the releases from Germany's Mille Plateaux label are really good for reading these works.

I can't recommend this book enough but I will give some advice in your approach:

1. Even though this might seem the most intimidating entry to D&G's thought I suggest it anyway. Compared to "Difference and Repetition" or "The Logic of Sense" this is a walk in the park when it comes to penetrating the prose.

2. Don't expect a book of philosophy where an argument is clearly defined and developed. This is nothing like that. It's a work of "nomad thought", just try and follow what's happening *before* you judge it.

3. Come back to it. Regularly. Your appreciation and engagement will deepen as your knowledge of Deleuze's oeuvre deepens. You won't 'get it' at first but you have to enter his work somewhere. Eventually you'll realise this is a challenge to develop new ontologies, you were never meant to get it. You were and are meant to think it in new directions. After all, that's the basic lesson of the return.

4. Read widely. I really recommend Rodowick's 1997 book "Gilles Deleuze's Time Machine". On the surface Rodowick is working with the cinema books but the cinema books themselves are philosophical works developing Bergson.
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