Félix Guattari; Bourgeoisie and Capitalist Flows




The bourgeois machine

One ought to distinguish here between the apparent Power [Pouvoir] of the nobility and the real power [puissance] of the bourgeoisie. At the molecular level, the real power of processes of deterritorialisation tends to escape from molar Power. The tacit equilibria, the networks of interdependence, didn’t stop being worked over, called into question, by the deterritorialised semiotic budding of the urban bourgeoisie. From this point of view, the ecclesiastical theory of ‘three orders’ (the division of society according to a divine plan into workers, warriors and people of prayer is an illusion: it is the expression of an ideological attempt at reterritorialisation) endeavoured to deny the growth of another deterritorialising force traversing the whole of the social body, and which could not be grasped at all in the framework of existing religious categorisations. In fact, it wasn’t a case of homogeneous classes that can be compared with and opposed to one another. By linking its divisions with the prolongation of the orders and estates of the Ancien Regime, by transposing its representation of society onto that of bourgeois parliamentarianism, bourgeois historians and, to a certain extent, the socialist theorists of the nineteenth century, have skirted round the issue of the existence of social assemblages of a different nature, and avoided a political problematic that is reborn today with the struggles of minorities of all kinds. Before being crystallised into ‘coherent’ political and economic groups that can be grasped on the basis of more or less universal modes of categorisation (whether of a religious origin or not), the socius differentiates itself according to an unconscious sexual, ethnic, social, micropolitical and microeconomic economy. The military, aristocratic and religious machines of the Middle Ages cannot be placed on the same plane as the peasantry, which was neither a class nor an order in the Middle Ages, but society in its entirety as a basic productive machine. And ‘from the outset’ it was essentially a matter of residual systems pursuing their mad trajectories and Brownian movements according to their own laws of semiotic inertia. The machinic cornerstone, the operator that would effectuate the conjunction of all the lines of deterritorialisation would be neither a caste nor a mass and not yet a class, but a social formation with contours that are difficult to delimit, clinging to the same urban rhizome of power functions, technical competences, institutions, equipment, monetary flows, flows of knowledge and merchandise … It is the bourgeoisie that would ensure that everything will hold together, or rather that everything will start holding together again. Minor from the political, religious and military point of view, powerful only in its ‘machinics’ and its deterritorialised semiotics, it is the bourgeoisie that will ‘hold together’ the mutations of the capitalist unconscious, it is on the basis of its collective assemblages and its equipment – which are scarcely differentiated at this stage – that the new lines of force of society would be semiotised and deployed.
Before being a class, the bourgeoisie is thus a certain kind of molecular collective equipment. Subsequently it will put together gigantic semiotic cyclotrons from this equipment, associated with industrial combines, megalopolises, a world market, etc. But its ‘visible’ historical stages will not stop being doubled by ruptures, the extension of systems of deterritorialisation, followed by their taking back in hand, by reterritorialisations endeavouring for a while to overcome the same original semiotic collapse, which will only become more marked from one crisis to the next, constantly calling back into question previous ‘gains’. The capitalist combinatory will thus be enriched to the extent that its basic modules are deterritorialised and miniaturised like a Lego playset or, rather, like the passage in the physico-chemical domain from successive analyses and syntheses that first start with molecules and atoms and then with atomic and nuclear components. History will deploy the potentialities of deterritorialised capitalist formulae, which will initially appear ‘ready-made’ at the molecular scale and in a microscopic space. For a long time, before they make their territory, they will be able to remain in an endemic state, like viruses that wait years for the appearance of conditions that are favourable to their expansion. As we have seen, this is how capitalism started to ‘take’ from the high Middle Ages in Pisa, Genoa and Venice, and a fusion was even sketched out between the urban bourgeoisie and the landowning aristocracy. In this regard, Yves Barel has talked of ‘deterritorialised city principalities’. A capitalist nobility, supported by craft guilds and ship owners, succeeded here in taking control of urban development, of the economy and of political power, in the context of a so-called ‘aristocratic republic’ system. But let’s emphasise that it was only a matter here of exceptional cases, of ‘miracles’ resulting from the conspiring of very particular circumstances, that is to say, the ‘accidental’ bringing into conjunction of a whole series of deterritorialising factors (the meeting point of different worlds, opening onto the sea, a favourable condition for picking up of commercial flows and, in the case of Venice, its particular situation on a lagoon as a result of pressure from the Franks, etc.). In fact, neither the Italian capitalist cities, nor the capitals of bourgeois royalty, will form the crucible in which a fusion between the old aristocracies and the ascendant bourgeois elites could be brought about. Whether the too territorialised feudal segmentarity managed to impose its inertia on the new segmentarity or inversely the latter, too deterritorialised, relied on the former, the fact is that the urban integration of aristocratic equipment will only have been highly relative, very partial. Even when the embourgeoisement of fractions of the aristocracy attached directly to the functioning of the power of the Royal state and to capitalism results locally in the constitution of a sort of aristocratic bourgeoisie, it will still only be a matter of a relative fusion, with a character that is, above all, functional. This is the case, for example, with the ‘Colbert Lobby’ – as Daniel Dessert and Jean-Louis Journet call it. More than three-quarters composed of nobility (whether from birth or from the exercise of some ennobling responsibility), who, according to these authors, nevertheless had to be brought together under a group of financiers whose positions and functions had, since the start of the eighteenth century, ‘with the discrete, effective and interested support of the powerful, played an eminent role, which placed them at the centre of the life of the State, in the surrounding monetary and economic system’, that is to say, a capitalist social formation that, despite its rupture from the landowning aristocracy, does not for all that belong to the bourgeoisie. 1 It is also worth being prudent with regard to the over-hasty assimilation of the bourgeoisie and capitalism. Whatever their alliances might be, it is a matter of two kinds of heterogeneous reality: the bourgeoisie results from a conservative social stratification – which intended to retain the rights it had gained – whereas capitalism results from a conjunction of machinic components that tends, on the contrary, and as if in spite of itself, to destratify the social field. This discrepancy will go on growing and it will become particularly visible with contemporary developments of state capitalism, in East and West: the same rhizome of technocratic and capitalistic castes tending to take possession of the world by negotiating its economico-political strategy at its heart, over the heads of the old bourgeoisies and the old national bureaucracies.
In a general manner, the processes of the urbanisation and equipping of the great national capitalist entities will not result in the institutionalisation, the codification of fixed models of power formations, as was generally the case in the cities of Antiquity. The bourgeois town – and this is what gives it its strength – is anything and everything. 2
Forcing things a bit we can say that it is a molar epiphenomenon, whilst bourgeois and corporate equipment for their part represent the true molecular process of the urbanisation and rise of productive forces. 3 Whilst the powers of the lord, the earl, the bishop, the king, etc., were quarrelling over the military, political and fiscal control of towns, the capitalist molecular revolution for its part secretly took control of the whole of the social body. Indirectly it will take control of the nobility and the Church, by means of its collective equipment of production and commerce, its ungraspable semiotic machines, which it won’t stop making proliferate, and which will transform the tendencies of thinking, feelings, religion, architectures, science … The particularities of the ecclesiastic and noble aristocracies will only be able to stay afloat by adapting to the relative universalism of the bourgeoisie and only in so far as the interests of the latter will lead it to developing its semiotic differentiation in comparison with them.

The new bourgeois ‘sensibility’

Throughout the development and conjunction of these processes of capitalistic deterritorialisation, a different conception of the human, and of childhood in particular, starts to appear. A certain economy of traditional aristocratic values lost its consistency to the extent that the chivalrous feeling of love – the idealisation of the Lady – was deterritorialised. Don Quixote and Corneille’s heroes participate in the same rearguard action, whereas a certain childishness in Racine’s characters announces the supremacy of bourgeois sensibility. In effect, after the rise of the Lady in the novels of chivalry and courtly romances, it is the child that comes to the front and centre of the stage in the eighteenth century. If the faciality of the Lady focused the nobilitarian deterritorialisation, it seems that it is that of the child that will, quite literally, submerge that of the bourgeoisie, and that remains true to the present day. 4 This doesn’t, in any case, imply an improvement in the fate of childhood, not even bourgeois childhood! Things will play out in a double register:

• On the one hand, one sees a privatisation, a closing up of the family on the child again, a growing insistence on the mother–child relation (which will be transposed onto the husband–wife relation, and that between lovers, etc.).

• On the other hand, a reinforced semiotic gridding, a more and more precocious, generalised control, sometimes of an unbelievable harshness: the school of Christian Brothers having transposed the prescriptions formulated by Ignatius Loyola for monastic discipline for use by children (privation of wealth, of nature, of human conversations, satisfactions of the mind, giving up one’s own freewill, one’s own judgement, the condemnation of the pleasures of the senses, which make one the same as animals, faithfulness to the rules or practices of the community, etc.) 5

The deterritorialisation of human work that modes of manufacturing and industrial production will carry out corresponds not just to a deterritorialisation of the spaces of life linked to the rural exodus, urbanisation, etc., but also a deterritorialisation of ‘sentiment’ translated by the appearance of a new kind of relationship to work – ultimately, the disappearance of the ‘love of one’s trade’ – and of a new kind of leader. The man of power in capitalism will no longer be equipped with the traditional aristocratic values. The ideal of valiance, loyalty, generosity and courtesy transmitted through the myths of chivalry will be succeeded by that of an efficacy and a cynicism that paradoxically is associated with a childishness of feeling the expression of which will be manufactured ‘serially’ by Romance art and literature]. Two kinds of semiotic factory could be opposed:

• That of an aristocratic formation, which starts from territorialised basic elements (the identification of lineage and of house, 6 the role of blood, of the earth, of the coat of arms, etc.) and ends up with a relatively homogeneous style, as in the example of the king’s court.

• That of a capitalist formation, which begins from relatively more deterritorialised basic modules at the outset, implying a much more precocious ‘treatment’ of childhood semiotics in order to separate them from their ‘native lands’, so as to bend them to abstract codes. By carrying out differentiated ‘montages’, it produces men for all occasions, more functionally adaptable than the too stiff, too ‘semiotically crystallised’ aristocrats could be.

The formation of new dependencies, new hierarchies, new bureaucracies, adapted to the evolution of capitalist relations of production, presupposes, in our view, a double deterritorialisation of nobilitarian initiation:

• On the one hand, a diachronic deterritorialisation that is manifested by the fading and loss of semiotic components linked to traditional arts and values (a certain relationship to
oneself and to the world, the sense of honour, of filiation, personal belonging, the learning of certain kinds of postures and behaviours through horse riding, the arts of combat, good manners, etc.).

• On the other hand, a synchronic deterritorialisation that will place the world of the aristocracy – the nobility ‘present at the court’ 7 – in a semiotic (and economic) dependency with regard to bourgeois society that is more and more marked.

The withering of the aristocracy

At the end of the eighteenth century, the revolutionary ruptures between the aristocratic powers and the bourgeoisie probably originate less in the explicit revolutionary will of the latter than in an extension of the components of deterritorialisation that work over the ‘Atlantic world’ and a conjunctural crisis – a sort of new historical ‘black hole’ of the same level of importance as that of the tenth century, but in which the barbarian flows were, in an inversion, replaced by that of the Napoleonic armies and the expansion of capitalist flows ravaging all the old territories in their passage. The grand financial and capitalist bourgeoisie had everything to gain from a ‘change in continuity’. It must be admitted that the theatre of aristocratic ‘expenditure’ and the hateful, but subjugating, fascination that it exercised over people for centuries only presented it with disadvantages. What point was there in crushing the residues of a landed nobility that, for better or worse, continued to ‘hold’ the world of the peasantry? Let’s not forget that the movements in the countryside during the French Revolution were aimed indifferently at both the feudal nobility and the urban bourgeoisie, both of whom, albeit by different means, hadn’t stopped pressurising them. 8 Let’s add to that the fact that, as we have seen previously, the fusion between the bourgeois aristocracy and a ‘capitalist’ fraction of the nobility was already largely under way … Thus it is not the bourgeoisie as a class that ‘made’ the French Revolution, but the capitalist components of deterritorialisation of which it was the bearer. Also, and perhaps principally, from an evental point of view, the reterritorialising reactions of the urban masses against these components, in particular against the tendencies of the new ruling strata to overturn old regulations, the old corporations, to manipulate money, to promote a ‘liberal’ economic segmentarity. Thus, by considering things from the point of view of the capitalist revolution, one may consider that numerous days of insurrection amongst the artisan and shopkeeper sans-culottes were in some way ‘counter-revolutionary’, ‘Poujadist’. Without a well-determined political base, the bourgeoisie of the Lumières didn’t stop ‘jumping onto the bandwagon’ in one direction or another, on the side of the ‘great Atlantic revolution’, in Jacques Godechot’s expression, 9 or the side of the decentralising and autonomist particularism of the Parisian sections and the provincial federations.
The proliferation of bourgeois Equipment, in our view, then, appeared in the meshes of the powers of the nobility and of royalty; its function was to convert the primary surplus value that the ruling castes extracted from the work of the peasants and artisans into capitalist labour power, to the benefit of those castes. But in return, like a mushroom, it hastened the rotting of its support. As the bourgeoisie implanted and stabilised its de facto power over territorial entities constituted according to economic norms, and not the ‘logic’ of filiation and alliance that presided over the parcelling out of baronetcies, earldoms, duchies and kingdoms, this equipment was miniaturised and polymerised in such a way as to generate macro-equipment able to respond to the technological, economic and political demands of modern States. 10 Thus the proliferating anarchy of micro-equipment bears within itself a central state power (the institutional axiomatic of which was systematised by Bonapartism: creation of major ministries, the grandes écoles, etc.). Little by little, a double-headed network of collective equipment – with a semiotic micro-head infiltrating itself everywhere and the macro-head of a state with an overall hold – started to grid the slightest nook and cranny of the social field. The processual character of this phenomenon ought not to mask the fact that it is from the outset, that is to say, from well before the crystallisation of macro-equipment, that the question of State power, which can be identified here with the question of the power of the bourgeoisie, was posed.
In this regard, let us come back to the equipment relative to the semiotic formation of the nobility. In appearance they are specific to the nobility, fundamentally they concern only them, and secondarily civil servants and bourgeois artists attached to the king’s court. But one can equally consider that by taking over from the abbey at St Denis five centuries later in subjecting an already considerably fading aristocracy to a new ‘Peace of God’ – this time baroque and rococo – Versailles will have been the first collective super-Equipment of modern times, a sort of abscess of/for fixation, a camp for regrouping and reduction, an apparatus essential to accelerating the transfer of real powers to the profit of the Parliamentarians, jurists, technocrats and bankers of the bourgeoisie. In fact, the feudal nobility had been taken in charge semiotically since birth by the equipment of the bourgeoisie; the bourgeoisie was in some way the semiotic machine for the new aristocracies since its birth. It is not a matter here just of counsellors, scribes, poets, tutors and confessors, but also of a syntax, a logic, a machinics, an entire new sensibility.
As long as an unconscious complicity existed between the aristocracy and the other social strata, as long as the nobility and the higher clergy could be considered to be castes that specialised in ‘expenditure’, as long as their wealth and their style of life, whilst abhorred by those who suffered their effects, were accepted as being part of the ‘rules of the game’ and expressed in some way a collective, ‘irrational’, desire, then the symbiosis between bourgeoisie and nobility will retain its ‘utility’, by manifesting the social exploitation in a system with two faces and two powers. The nobility will constitute the alibi, the lightning rod, the diversion for growing capitalist exploitation. But when it stopped being felt by the mass of the people to be a foreign body, when it lost its fascinating strangeness, its sacred aura, then all that will remain is to isolate it, to park it in its specially reserved spaces – Versailles, etc., to ‘expel’ it across the frontier (in a transitory way, it is true, but the ‘Restoration’ would never restore to it its earlier prerogatives). The final way in which the nobility will be of service to the bourgeoisie is as a scapegoat; by cutting off heads, the bourgeois revolution will attempt to make the problem take flight into the collective imaginary: ‘the heretics are to blame, the blue-bloods, the international Jewry, the fifth column, Trotskyist spies, Beria’s clique, Lin Biao’s gangs …’ With this kind of procedure one seeks to exorcisethe real nature of a crisis, one that involves not just the ‘responsibility’ of the whole social body but also mobilises its libido, by localising it, by territorialising it on a particular constellation of faciality traits.
The ecclesiastic and noble aristocracy will thus tumble, from the moment that its diverse modes of territorialisation – by which we understand its sumptuary equipment as much as its relation to money and to work, its style of life, its ‘etiquettes’, its postures – stop serving as nourishment for the semiotic, libidinal and institutional equipment of the most deterritorialised fractions of the bourgeoisie. However far back one goes in the political and literary history of feudalism, it seems that one finds the originary terms of the libidinal division of labour between the nobility and the bourgeoisie, a division that is correlated with the double political game of the latter. Whilst the aristocracy carries its fall haughtily, like a destiny, the bourgeoisie slyly arranges its own inevitable triumph – if only to expel its most unbearable faciality traits by projecting them onto the image of Lombard or the greedy Jew. Yves Barel has pointed out from the eleventh century on, the bourgeoisie alternately relied on feudal segmentarity and provincial and royal centralising powers in a sort of complex ballet, in which earldoms, towns and nobility are allied two against three (‘If the rules of the game stayed the same, the alliances that were made were as effective as they were temporary and changing.’). That is how the territorial establishment of the deterritorialised machines of the bourgeoisie not only progressively emptied the old power formations of their substance but in addition produced a series of replacement models to ensure the continuity of their social repressive frame.
Let us note nevertheless that long after the French Revolution, and even as a residual territoriality, the aristocracy continued to maintain a place amongst the new castes of notables that wasn’t negligible. But paradoxically it will be in the form of a deterritorialised archaism that it will traverse contemporary history and will continue to play, to the present day, a very significant role in the popular imaginary such as it is manipulated by the so-called ‘sensationalist’ press (royal marriages, etc.). Moreover, another part of the old aristocracy was converted into a certain number of ‘modern’ economic, military and political sectors: we know that even today, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for example, has remained one of its privileged poaching grounds. But there too, the key thing is not to go searching on the side of territorialised powers but rather on the side of libidinal conversions, mutations of value, experiments with new kinds of bosses with which the aristocracy has got mixed. In effect, starting from the moment that one agrees to envisage historical phenomena not just from their large-scale political and social angle but equally at the level of their molecular libidinal metabolism, considering that bourgeois semiotics purely and simply annihilated those of the aristocracy becomes less evident. No more, in any case, than the proletariat would succeed in making those of the kulaks and the bourgeoisie, or even those of the old ‘oriental despotism’ (which Stalinist bureaucracy seems quite naturally to have ‘rediscovered’! 11 ) decay after ‘Red October’. The machines of Collective equipment, capitalist semiotic machines can coexist perfectly well with the ‘archaic’ machines of the aristocracy or the ‘progressive’ machines of the workers’ movement. The politics of modern states consists in making all that hold together: a certain conception of public service, of welfare, of planning, etc., of pressure groups, lobbies, mafias, micro- fascist systems of value such as those that animate historical filiation – the France of Du Gueslin and Joan of Arc, the Germany of the Teutonic order, Tsarist Russia, Zionism’s promised land, etc. In this domain of the collective economy of desire, history doesn’t necessarily proceed according to a linear progression through earlier ‘stages’. It conveys blocks of the past without any Aufhebung , it opens up the future at the same time as it closes it down, it works on itself through zones of collapsing and reterritorialisation. Everything stays in the same place, the best and the worst, the possible and the impossible. One can say that at one and the same time it knocks everything over in its passage, that it transforms everything irreversibly and that it changes nothing, that it piles stratifications up on top of one another.

Bourgeois reterritorialisations

The capitalist revolution hasn’t stopped detaching new ruling classes and new kinds of bureaucracy from the old power formations. Starting with the French Revolution, its institutional proliferation took on a new character in relation to that which had engendered the bourgeoisie of the Ancien Régime. It no longer only concerned an urban space and a codified economic field, it no longer just concerned itself with differentiating cities, ‘conditions’, revenues, habitats, benches inside churches, but also – and more fundamentally – libidinal and semiotic mechanisms. The old bourgeoisies controlled power over social and economic sectors that were easy to find. The new bourgeoisies invaded everything. Man has become universally bourgeois. The old complex – absolute distance of conditions and imaginary symbiosis of the nobility and the people – has been liquidated. The formal unification of conditions (‘liberté, égalité, fraternité’) is in fact accompanied by an extinguishing of the old personological and affective values.
Coded personological relations, of the lord-valet, master-apprentice, kind, disappeared to the profit of a regulation of general ‘human’ relations, founded in the main on abstract systems of quantification bearing on work, on salaries, ‘qualifications’, profits, etc. In the last instance, the socius isn’t ‘anyone’s’ affair, but is an affair of decoded flows. The capitalist revolution attacks all the old territorialities, it dislocates rural, provincial, corporate, communities, it deterritorialises feasts and cults, music, traditional icons, it doesn’t just ‘colonise’ the old aristocracies but also all the marginal or nomadic strata of society. But its systematic enterprise of deterritorialisation of social groups is accompanied by a production of replacement territories adapted to its functional requirements and to the maintenance of its power. 12 This reterritorialisation is carried out according to two modalities: by a negotiation, a permanent compromise with the residues of territories that had been ‘surpassed’, and through the ‘launching’ of new territories, through the equipping of the socius with new models allowing desire to continue to ‘cling on to something’. One might consider that the first task would be devolved onto stable (political, legal, religious, etc.) public institutions and the second onto the proliferating network of collective Equipment. In fact, interactions and a complex combinatory result in a constant entangling of these two kinds of component. But schematically, one can distinguish two domains to which the same process of deterritorialisation and reterritorialisation applies, miniaturising and functionalising the elements that it concerns: that of capitalist equipment and that of archaic institutions and social stratifications. An example involving the first domain: the bourgeois-religious proto-equipment of the Middle Ages, which had succeeded in making the politics of the so-called Peace of God prevail, will be internalised and universalised to result, in the eighteenth century, in the miniaturisable equipment of the ‘spirit of laws’ or of Kantian morality. An example involving the second domain: the great territorialised social entities that were globally invested with a magico-religious character – Royal power, the power of the Church, the nobility, the rural community, the corporations, etc. – will be worked over ‘from inside’ and redeployed for other functions; the libido will now attach as a priority – although always more or less in resonance with the old systems – to residual territories such as domestic space, family feeling, a certain cult of childhood, the faciality traits of the bureaucrat, the policeman, the doctor, the teacher, etc., without forgetting those of the unconscious superego, which psychoanalysts characterise as maternal (one might well ask oneself why).
But the new function of capitalist equipment will not for all that manage to stabilise society by making it crystallise according to clearly delimited entities and by imposing on it a properly coded functioning. ‘Behind’ its institutional relations, assemblages, unforeseeable lines of flight that threaten it from inside, will not stop appearing, in a sort of inflation of innovation or which will set off mechanisms that will, in return, block it up in itself. Thus it will always be possible for these two domains of the equipmental function (that of capitalist equipment properly so-called and that of the residual stratifications that it cuts out or of the artificial territories that it produces) to be called into question through the function of a collective assemblage that, in a very different mode, crystallises not persons but machinic ensembles of signs and infra-personological organs, that effects of which concern the big molar groups and/or the microscopic segments of the socius at the same time. This assemblage function, as we will see later on, could either accelerate that of the equipment – by reinforcing its repressive capacity, for example 13 – or it could work against it by pushing capitalist deterritorialisation beyond its internal limits and by creating the conditions for a taking charge of all possible equipment by collective assemblages of revolutionary desire.

Table summarising the two domains of application of the equipmental function and the process of deterritorialisation-reterritorialisation-miniaturisation of equipments and residual stratifications

Old regime 

Capitalist equipment
The ‘Peace of God’ codifies social orders that are radically distinct from one another. Royal power is in the position of external arbitrator vis-à-vis the territories of the nobility, towns, corporations, etc.

Bourgeois and bureaucratic regime

Capitalist Equipment
The ‘spirit of laws’ and conscious morals controls a universal individual ‘from the inside’. State capitalism keeps a hold of all the cogs of society on the basis of a proliferating network of deterritorialised equipment

Old regime

Residual institutional and libidinal stratifications
• relative stability of the rural community and of feudal segmentarity
• magic-religious characteristics attached to king, to trades, etc.

Bourgeois and bureaucratic regime

Residual institutional and libidinal stratifications
• expropriation of old territories to the profit of economic and political segmentarity (free enterprise, radical-socialist republics, deviationism, gulags, etc.)
• development of the family sentiment and the cult of childhood (faciality traits of the bureaucrat, the policeman, the doctor, the teacher, the superego)


1 Daniel Dessert and Jean-Louis Jourent Le Lobby Colvert – Un royaume ou une affaire de famille? (Paris: Armand Colin, 1975).

2 Fernand Braudel shows that the proliferation of ‘model’ cities is such, in the sixteenth century, that a typology can only be established on condition that one use a combinatory that brings into play heterogeneous factors which – aside from questions about size and rank of city – would refer to collective equipment functions, in the very broad sense in which we are considering them here. So, sticking just with the cities of Spain, one might say that Granada and Madrid are bureaucratic cities, Toledo, Burgos, and Seville mercantile cities, but Seville is equally bureaucratic, rentier, and artisanal; Cordova and Segovia industrial and capitalist cities; Cuenca, industrial but also artisanal; Salamanca and Jerez, agricultural cities; Guadalajara, a clerical city; others are more military, ‘sheep-farming’, rustic, maritime, cities of studying, etc. Finally, the only way of making these cities ‘hold together’ in the same capitalist grouping, so that they don’t fragment into a multitude of autonomous and antagonistic cities, is to consider them as arising from the same rhizome of Collective Equipment. Cf. Fernand Braudel The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Phillip II translated by Siân Reynolds (London: Collins, 1972).

3 It is worth distinguishing here the aspect of the deterritorialisation of machines and equipments, in so far as they engender new forms of production and circulation, and the aspect of institutional, regulatory, and imaginary reterritorialisation, which attempts to put a brake on this movement through the system of corporations and guilds, etc.

4 Philippe Ariès Centuries of Childhood. A Social History of Family Life , translated by Robert Baldick (New York: Basic, 1962).

5 Anne Querrien, unpublished.

6 Jean-Louis Flandrin Familles: Parenté, maison, sexualité dans l’ancienne société Paris: Hachette, 1975.

7 According to Albert Soboul, ‘the courtiers living at Versailles as part of the King’s entourage, represented about 4,000 families’. See Albert Soboul A Short History of the French Revolution translated by Geoffrey Symcox (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977).

8 Paul Bois Paysans de l’Ouest (Paris: Flammarion, 1971).

9 Jacques Godechot La grande nation: l’expansion révolutionnaire de la France dans le monde de 1789 à 1799 (Paris: Aubier, 1956).

10 Stock market equipment, for example, started to come into existence in the modern form of product exchange and securities market from the end of the sixteenth century; but it is only at the start of the seventeenth century that they will acquire a gigantic size – sometimes, between 5,000 and 6,000 people gathering every day in the stock market at Amsterdam to follow the price of the East India Company.

11 Karl Wittfogel Oriental Despotism; a Comparative Study of Total Power (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1957).

12 Cf. the ‘great enclosure’ [of unreason] described by Michel Foucault in The History of Madness translated by Jean Khalfa (London: Routledge, 2009).

13 There is a case here for distinguishing fascist movements from reactionary institutions. For example: the appearance of a Puritan movement, separating from the Anglican institution, and which gives rise to the formation, by the Pilgrim Fathers of the Mayflower , of a sort of fascist community in New England – a new promised land that was to be built against the people of demons, that is to say, against the Indians.


Félix Guattari; The Lines of Flight / For another world of possibilities
Translated by Andrew Goffey


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