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Analysing the Matter Flows in Schools Using Deleuze’s Method

A non-reductive analysis of school would show us that when all is said and done, the ‘matter’ that is tooled behind its walls is doubtless less an affair of teaching, of information, or of power, than a libidinal matter that is constitutive of the collective power of labour, and which implies a ‘superego’ investment of professional roles and hierarchical functions.

Guattari (2016, p. 44).

Abstract

Using Deleuzian theory for educational research and practice has become an increasingly popular activity (e.g., Cole 2011). However, there are many theoretical complexities to the straightforward application of Deleuze to the educational context. For example, the ‘new materialism’ that Deleuze refers to in the 1960s takes its inspiration from Spinoza, and is an emancipatory (and very human) project. Contrariwise, the ‘new materialism’ of the present moment is frequently applied to educational research and practice specifically as a way out of anthropocentric limits and enclosure. This paper explores the combined forces of humanism and naturalism which are at work in Deleuze’s ‘new materialism’, as type of ‘more-than-human’ emancipation method derived from Bergson and Nietzsche; it is a mode of overcoming human limits, which fully takes into account the connections to and with the non-human world and the ecological consequences of human action. This paper will draw out the specific consequences for educational research and practice in schools of the ‘vitalist-nihilism’ we may derive from Bergson and Nietzsche to analyse matter flows as they enter, mingle with, and exit schools.

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Cole, D.R. Analysing the Matter Flows in Schools Using Deleuze’s Method. Stud Philos Educ 38, 229–240 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11217-019-09650-7

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Keywords

  • Vitalism
  • Nihilism
  • Deleuze
  • Bergson
  • Nietzsche
  • New materialism
  • Educational theory and practice
  • Matter flows