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date: 24 October 2017

Deleuze Studies in Education

This is an advance summary of a forthcoming article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education. Please check back later for the full article.

Gilles Deleuze (1925–1995) was a French philosopher who wrote about literature, art, cinema, other philosophers, capitalism, and schizophrenia. His wide-ranging oeuvre has begun to be considered seriously in education, because his ideas act as springboards for further elaboration and application in connected areas such as research, learning theory, curriculum, and policy studies. While it is impossible to track exactly how, when, and indeed if “Deleuze Studies in Education” will mature and progress to occupy a mainstream position in education, it is worth considering the influence of the French thinker as a mode of renewal and new thought. The questions that concern Deleuze Studies in Education therefore shift from positing thought from the known to what can be done.

Deleuze’s solo work acts a basis for new thinking in the philosophy of education. His series of philosophical studies track and develop a new philosophy that redraws Western concepts of the subject, knowledge, learning, and thought. The intent of this new philosophy is to open up fixed Western ideas to their international and historical counterparts and to produce a way of thinking that occupies a middle ground, disconnected from the dominant, intellectual empire building that has predominantly hailed from the West.

Deleuze’s writing with the French intellectual activist Félix Guattari (1930–1992) takes on a distinct shift and urgency away from the rewriting of the Western philosophical tradition until their last joint work: What Is Philosophy? Deleuze Studies in Education is deepened and reinvented through their dual work and is transformed into a mode of critical capitalist studies, adding historical/subjective valence to how one understands current shifts in educational practice.

Last, the specific oeuvre of Félix Guattari, who is often less investigated and focused upon in education than Deleuze, serves as a pressing and ethical engagement with theory that can be readily applied to issues such as environmental concerns, inequality, power, and activism. Guattari’s ideas are present as a lasting aspect of Deleuze Studies in Education because they demonstrate many of the links to practice that Deleuze theorized throughout his philosophy.