is a term coined by the French thinkers Gilles Deleuze
and Félix Guattari
in their book Anti-Œdipus
). They oppose the Freudian
conception of the unconscious
as a representational "theater", instead favoring a productive "factory" model: desire
is not an imaginary
force based on lack
, but a real, productive force. They describe the mechanistic nature of desire as a kind of "desiring-machine" that functions as a circuit breaker in a larger "circuit" of various other machines to which it is connected. Meanwhile, the desiring-machine is also producing a flow of desire from itself. Deleuze and Guattari imagine a multi-functional universe composed of such machines all connected to each other: "There are no desiring-machines that exist outside the social machines that they form on a large scale; and no social machines without the desiring machines that inhabit them on a small scale."
The concept of desiring-production is part of Deleuze and Guattari's more general appropriation of Friedrich Nietszche's formulation of the Will to Power. In both concepts, a pleasurable force of appropriation of what is outside oneself, incorporating into oneself what is other than oneself, characterizes the essential process of all life. Similarly, a kind of reverse force of "forgetting" in Nietzsche and the body without organs in Deleuze and Guattari disavows the Will to Power and desiring-production, attempting to realize the ideal of an hermetic subject.
Thenceforth, while very interested by Wilhelm Reich's fundamental question — why did the masses desire fascism? — they criticized his dualist theory leading to a rational social reality on one side, and an irrational desire reality on the other side. Anti-Œdipus was thus an attempt to think beyond Freudo-Marxism; and Deleuze and Guattari tried to do for Freud what Marx had done for Adam Smith.
Published in the same year as Anti-Œdipus, Guy Hocquenghem's Homosexual Desire re-articulated desiring-production within the emergent field of queer theory.
- Deleuze, Gilles and Félix Guattari. 1972. Anti-Œdipus. Trans. Robert Hurley, Mark Seem and Helen R. Lane. London and New York: Continuum, 2004. Vol. 1 of Capitalism and Schizophrenia. 2 vols. 1972-1980. Trans. of L'Anti-Oedipe. Paris: Les Editions de Minuit. ISBN 0826476953.
- ---. 1980. A Thousand Plateaus. Trans. Brian Massumi. London and New York: Continuum, 2004. Vol. 2 of Capitalism and Schizophrenia. 2 vols. 1972-1980. Trans. of Mille Plateaux. Paris: Les Editions de Minuit. ISBN 0826476945.
- Guattari, Félix. 1984. Molecular Revolution: Psychiatry and Politics. Trans. Rosemary Sheed. Harmondsworth: Penguin. ISBN 0140551603.
- ---. 1995. Chaosophy. Ed. Sylvère Lotringer. Semiotext(e) Foreign Agents Ser. New York: Semiotext(e). ISBN 1570270198.
- ---. 1996. Soft Subversions. Ed. Sylvère Lotringer. Trans. David L. Sweet and Chet Wiener. Semiotext(e) Foreign Agents Ser. New York: Semiotext(e). ISBN 1570270309.
- Hocquenghem, Guy. 1972. Homosexual Desire. Trans. Daniella Dangoor. 2nd ed. Series Q Ser. Durham: Duke UP, 1993. ISBN 0822313847.
- Massumi, Brian. 1992. A User's Guide to Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Deviations from Deleuze and Guattari. Swerve editions. Cambridge, USA and London: MIT. ISBN 0262631431.