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Assemblage/apparatus: using Deleuze and Foucault

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In this commentary I would like to offer some reflections on the Deleuzian concept of ‘assemblage’ (agencement) from the perspective of my grounding in ‘governmentality studies’ and, secondly, on the latter's central concern with the concept of the security ‘apparatus’ (dispositif). I would like to suggest that the two be thought of dialectically, both as concepts and as actually-existing things in the world. After outlining my use to date of these concepts, and their deployment in my research into colonial India, I will counterpoise Giorgio Agamben's and Giles Deleuze's reflections on Michel Foucault's use of the term dispositif/apparatus. Deleuze's obvious and acknowledged indebtedness to Foucault's work, but his explicit re-rendering of the Foucauldian interest in order with the Deleuzian conceptualisation of dis-order, will be used to conclude with some methodological suggestions regarding how Deleuze and Foucault, agencement and dispositif, assemblages and apparatuses, can and should be thought together.

Keywords: Deleuze; Foucault; apparatus; assemblage; governmentality

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: School of Geography, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2RD, Email:

Publication date: 2011-06-01

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