Protevi has written an excellent critical review of Hallward’s Out of this World.

Hallward’s dualism and positing of uni-directional virtual dominance prepares him to say that Deleuze’s orientation “out of this world” vitiates his politics, leaving it “little more than utopian distraction” (162), one that “inhibits any consequential engagement with the constraints of our actual world” (161). Instead of a supposedly extra-worldly preference for the virtual, Hallward writes — eloquently and certainly not without justification — that “the politics of the future are likely to depend less on virtual mobility than on more resilient forms of cohesion, on more principled forms of commitment, on more integrated forms of coordination, on more resistant forms of defense” (162). But it’s only Hallward’s identification of the intensive and the virtual and consequent evacuation of all creativity from our world that leads him to think that, of his desiderata, “resilient cohesion” and “integrated coordination” are not Deleuzean concepts. I would submit that these are more aligned with what Deleuze and Guattari recommend — experimentation with intensive processes — than with either “virtual mobility” or its alleged counterpart, “actual fixity,” to which Hallward seems attracted here.

I have insisted enough, I think, on the fact that we live in an intensive rather than (or at least in addition to) an “actual” world, so I will conclude only by saying that Hallward has missed the “toolbox” element of Deleuze’s work. (I’m referring here to the well-known conversation between Foucault and Deleuze, “Intellectuals and Power,” available in English in D. F. Bouchard, ed., Language, Counter-Memory, Practice [Cornell, 1977]; see 208 for the “toolbox” remark.) In his conclusion, Hallward verges on the polemical, warning us against the futility of reading Deleuze politically. But his reading is theoretical, all-too-theoretical. To examine Deleuzean politics is not so much to read the singular logic of being that allegedly subtends the many analyses of the structures of territorial assemblages, the detailed theory of capitalism and the state, the many pragmatic cautions about experimentation with social interaction found throughout A Thousand Plateaus, but to see how these can be and have been used to find points of transformation and intervention in a system. When Deleuze and Guattari write, “we know nothing about a body until we know what it can do, in other words, what its affects are, how they can or cannot enter into composition with other affects, with the affects of another body” (A Thousand Plateaus 314F / 257E), we have to consider their philosophical writings in this respect. In other words, we have to see how they’ve been put to use (and there is certainly no “progressive” guarantee here, as Hallward himself notes [163]). So in this regard at least, it’s to the positive attempts at “applying” Deleuze and Deleuze & Guattari that we must turn in order to evaluate the potentials for compositional affects offered by these thinkers, rather than to the critical work of Hallward, as noteworthy and thought-provoking as that might be in many other aspects.

Read the rest here.

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