In conjunction with the students in my graduate seminar, and in conversation with my fellow NCA panelists (see my post on Nov. 21, 2005, below), I've been wondering lately what it would mean to take up the writings of Deleuze & Guattari. As far as I can tell, there are or have been five principal modes of engaging their work:
(1) What I like to call, "rhizome spotting." Here, the analyst tries to find evidence of Deleuzoguattarian concepts at work in the world.
(2) Applications. In this case, the analyst takes up one or more Deleuzoguattarian concepts and "applies" them to an empirical object.
(3) Operationalizing/extending Deleuze & Guattari's work. A lot of interesting work operates at this level. Here, the analyst engages the work of Deleuze and Guattari and makes their work resonate with one or more empirical objects. Often this results in some kind of extension or elaboration of Deleuzoguattarian thought.
(4) Reading what Deleuze and Guattari have read and extending their work therefrom. My sense is that Brian Massumi and Greg Seigworth tend to engage in this kind of practice, as in, for example, where Seigworth reads Freud's early texts for evidence of the ways in which he sublimated affect.
(5) Implicit dialogue. I'm most tentative about this category, but I've long felt that people like Giorgio Agamben and Jean-Luc Nancy take up Deleuzoguattarian ideas without mentioning D+G's work explicitly. For example, both Agamben's "The Coming Community" and Nancy's "The Inoperative Community" seem to be responses of sorts to the Deleuzoguattarian insight, "the people are missing."
Obviously these aren't neat and tidy categories, and some very well may disagree with my categorizations or the way in which I've identified the work of specific authors relative to that of D+G. It also should be clear that there's something of a hierarchy here, and that I do not believe that the first few modes of engagement are particularly Deleuzoguattarian--at least in any interesting way. I'd be curious to hear how others feel about this schema.