October 24, 1978 to February 27, 1979

Although only one session from this academic year has been preserved, and only as a fragment of the session, Deleuze’s frequent references to this seminar during the following year help us provide more substance to this seminar overall. In the first two sessions of the following year’s seminar (November 6 & 13, 1979), Deleuze provides a succinct statement of the foci of 1978-79, explaining: I outlined how we were increasingly led to distinguish, at least abstractly, from the point of view of the concept, between ‘war machine’ and ‘State apparatus’, and how at the end of the year, we touched more and more on the following question: if the war machine is defined … by a certain mode of space, by a certain mode of organization, etc., that is to be radically distinguished, from the conceptual point of view, from what one finds in the State apparatus . . ., where can such a thing [as the State apparatus] come from? And this thing, throughout the course of last year, we haven’t stopped defining it … as an apparatus of a very special type, that is to say: the State apparatus is an apparatus of capture.” (TDS ATP V 2-131179)

In light of the review in these opening sessions in November 1979, we can determine that topics Deleuze had previously emphasized corresponding to sections in A Thousand Plateaus:

He indicates the terminal point of the previous year’s work, the material for which he develops (with Guattari) in plateau 13, “7000 B.C. – Apparatus of Capture”. The key points from this plateau that he indicates in the 1979-80 opening session are: the mutilated and dual nature of the man of the State apparatus (ATP, pp. 425-427); nomads being responsible for the invention of the war machine (ATP, p. 430); linkage of armies and war machines and development of war machines in smooth space with the State apparatus developing in a striated space (ATP, p. 448);

Second, given the emphasis on the spaces of the nomadic war machine, Deleuze considers much of the material corresponding to plateau 14, “1440 – The Smooth and the Striated”, notably, the relation of labor and bureaucracy in light of the aforementioned borrowing of signs and tools (ATP, p. 490); however,

Third, Deleuze seems to have discussed considerable material corresponding to plateau 12, “1227 – Treatise on Nomadology – The War Machine”, notably regarding: issues of labor in relation to spaces of the war machine (ATP, pp. 381-398); the place of sentiments and affects in the State apparatus-war machine exchanges, especially as related to justice (ATP, pp. 399-400); signs and tools in the nomadic war machine borrowed from the State apparatus (ATP, pp. 400-403); the place of itinerancy in the phylum occupied by humans and in which the history of metallurgy became important consideration (ATP, p. 410);

Finally, throughout the 1979-1980 seminar, Deleuze refers to additional foci considered the previous year, notably work by Pierre Clastres (especially, La société contre l’État), while and phenomena of gangs (bandes) and packs correspond at once to an intervention by Guattari in the ATP I seminar (session 2) and to a section of A Thousand Plateaus plateau 12 dedicated to Clastres (pp. 357-361).

Hence, the seminar summarized below allows us to situate many of the important foci of the previous years within the framework metallurgy, specifically, and the nomadic war machine more generally.

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A Thousand Plateaus IV: The State Apparatus & War-Machines I