Deleuze and Guattari's Absent Analysis of Patriarchy

Edward Thornton*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Feminist philosophy has offered mixed opinions on the collaborative projects of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. But although there has been much discussion of the political expediency of what Deleuze and Guattari do say about sexual difference, this article will outline what is absent from Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus (the two volumes comprising Capitalism and Schizophrenia). Specifically, I will argue that though Deleuze and Guattari offer a historical account of a range of power structures—most notably capitalism, but also despotism, fascism, and authoritarianism—they give no such account of the development of patriarchy. Secondarily, this article will argue that Deleuze and Guattari's analysis of contemporary power relations could be improved by adding an accompanying analysis of the institution of patriarchy. After offering a detailed account of the technical vocabulary used by Deleuze and Guattari for the analysis of political institutions, I will argue that what their work requires is an account of how patriarchy is historically produced by an “abstract machine” of masculinity. This article will finish with some suggestions for the way that such an account could be given via an analysis of the abstract machine of phallusization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348-368
Number of pages21
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2019


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