‘What is to be Done?’: Grammars of Organisation

Kelly, Susan. 2018. ‘What is to be Done?’: Grammars of Organisation. Deleuze and Guattari Studies, 12(2), pp. 147-184. ISSN 2398-9777 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

What is to be done? The sense of urgency provoked by this question, its apparent injunction to act, its utterance at times of political upheaval and crises have lent it a privileged political status. What is to be done? is a question that marks the moment when thought appears to be over and action must proceed. This article considers how the grammar of this question produces relationships between subjects, action and the future, drawing a relationship between the constituent grammar of the question and Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s notion of the collective assemblage of enunciation. For Deleuze and Guattari, the collective assemblage of enunciation denotes amongst other things an immanent relationship between language and action: a relationship in which politics and language are bound together in a relationship of forces. This approach aims to rethink the urgency and force that is associated with the question through examining and re-proposing the connection between the linguistic organisation of the question and the different forms of political organisation that the question might produce. In so doing, Deleuze and Guattari provide a conceptual and linguistic apparatus for rethinking the plane of political action and organisation.

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Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, collective assemblage of enunciation, grammar, political organisation, Lenin, transversality

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20 August 2017Accepted
15 February 2018Published Online
May 2018Published

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Date Deposited:

29 Sep 2017 10:54

Last Modified:

19 Mar 2021 15:32

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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