On the Production of Subjectivity

Five Diagrams of the Finite-Infinite Relation


How might we produce our subjectivity differently? Indeed, what are we capable of becoming? This book addresses these questions with a particular eye to ethics, understood as a practice of living, and aesthetics, understood as creative experimentation and the cultivation of a certain style of life. Central to the enquiry are the writings of Félix Guattari and Gilles Deleuze (separately and in collaboration), as well as their philosophical precursors, Baruch Spinoza, Friedrich Nietzsche and Henri Bergson. Each of these, it is argued, offers powerful resources for thinking subjectivity beyond its habitual and typical instantiations – specifically in relation to opening up a different temporality of and for the subject today. Alongside this Deleuze-Guattarian trajectory the book also brings into encounter the writings on aesthetics and ethics of Michel Foucault and Jacques Lacan, and pitches Deleuze against Alain Badiou's own theory of the subject. At stake in this philosophical and psychoanalytical exploration is the drawing of a series of diagrams of the finite–infinite relation, and a development of Guattari's ethico-aesthetic paradigm for thinking the production of subjectivity as speculative, but also a pragmatic and creative practice.
  • Palgrave Macmillan; September 2012
  • ISBN 9781137032676
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF format
  • Title: On the Production of Subjectivity
  • Author: Simon O'Sullivan
  • Imprint: Palgrave Macmillan

In The Press

'Simon O' Sullivan does not merely offer another theory of the subject. Rather, he elegantly diagrams contemporary theoretical treatments of subjectification in order to grapple with the implications of subjectivity's adjacency and residuality. He never loses sight of the stakes for self-creation while examining the parameters of the relations between finitude-infinitude, desire-ethics, and subject-object that organize his engaging interpretations of Badiou, Foucault, Deleuze, Guattari, and Lacan. His commitment to practices that support the emergence of both strange and dissident subjectivities of the future fruitfully bring into the discussion paganism, shamanism, and animism. On the Production of Subjectivity is a fundamental reference point for questions bearing upon mental ecology, and a sourcebook for thinking beyond the diluted subjectivities available under semiocapital.' - Gary Genosko, Professor of Sociology and Canada Research Chair, Lakehead University, Canada

'On the Production of Subjectivity has taken the diagram to a new level of thought, and with that, renewed our philosophy of the subject in unprecedented fashion. Through analyses of the most important thinkers within the immanentist tradition (from Spinoza to Deleuze), as well as the most radical approaches to subjectivity (Lacan, Foucault, Guattari), this book not only tells us a new story concerning the emergence of self, but also shows us this in the most speculative and productive manner possible, following Bergson's adage that 'to speculate is to see'. With this work, O'Sullivan makes us see a new subject, and with the diagram, he gives us a new vision or 'non-philosophy' of thought itself.' - John Mullarkey, Kingston University, London, UK

About The Author

SIMON O'SULLIVAN Senior Lecturer in Art History/Visual Culture at Goldsmiths College, University of London, UK. He is the author of Art Encounters Deleuze and Guattari: Thought Beyond Representation (2005) and co-editor, with Stephen Zepke, of Deleuze, Guattari and the Production of the New (2008) and Deleuze and Contemporary Art (2010).