13 SES 07, Values, the Pedagogy of Interruption, and Publishing Now
The implications of Gilles Deleuze’s philosophy for education (e.g., Semetsky, 2006, 2008; Semetsky & Masny, 2013) and its application as educational theory (e.g., Jackson & Mazzei, 2012, 2013) have become such popular topics of educational research that we might be tempted to exclaim, as Alexander Galloway (Berry & Galloway, 2016, p. 157) has, “forget Deleuze” or rather, “forget Deleuzianism”! But Deleuze as teacher still has something to teach us as teachers and as philosophers of education. According to Philippe Mengue, when beginning a seminar or being questioned in class, he would "respond with a Yes whose sound was an exaggerated suspension.... And, in that moment of suspension, you suddenly saw all the possibilities of thought surge forth" (Mengue, cited in Bogue, 2013, pp. 25–26). However, lest we think that it was only Deleuze as teacher who was thus liberated, we have his axiom on teaching in Difference and Repetition: "We learn nothing from those who say: 'Do as I do.' Our only teachers are those who tell us to 'do with me' " (Deleuze, 1994, p. 23).
My first research question, then, is the following: How can we, in the spirit of Deleuze, take up the role of the teacher who says “do with me”? Given that the answer to this question will lie in suspension, in what Gert Biesta (2009) calls a “pedagogy of interruption,” my second question must be as follows: How can we, as philosophers of education, conceptualise the “moment of suspension” that for Deleuze – and Biesta – marks educational experience? While I agree with Biesta that the answer to this question must be ethical and political (Biesta, 2017, 2012), I differ in how I conceive of the ethics and politics at stake in education. I see the ethics of interruption as ontological (Bogue, 2007), not existential (Biesta, 2017), and its politics as “minor” (Thoburn, 2003), rather than democratic (Biesta, 2012).
My argument proceeds in three stages. I open with Biesta’s pedagogy of interruption, which involves the teacher “opening up literal and metaphorical spaces where the ... student can establish a relationship with their desires” through “suspension,” or creating time and space for them to make their desires visible and work through them, and “sustenance,” or backing them to do so (Biesta, 2017, pp. 18–19). For Biesta (2012, pp. 685, 693), this existential drama is writ large in “public pedagogy,” which concerns “forms of interruption that keep the opportunities for ‘becoming public’ open,” for “the achievement of a form of human togetherness …characterised by plurality,” a dissensual democracy.
But we can counter-actualise this pedagogy of interruption through Deleuze’s “immanent ethics” (Bogue, 2007). Immanent ethics entails the cultivation of certain ontological dispositions: bodily experimentation to increase our affective capacity and interaction with others; a duty to others to suspend our categorisation and comprehension of them; and faith in a “people to come” (Deleuze & Guattari, 1994) that comes into being through the fashioning of composite bodies. Such an ethics implies a bodily, collective and prefigurative sense of interruption.
Seeing interruption this way alerts us to the “minor politics” (Thoburn, 2003) implicit in such a pedagogy. The space opened up by the interruption is a necessarily “cramped” (intimate) one that entails a “willed poverty” (Deleuze & Guattari, 1986, pp. 17, 19): a “continual deferral of identity and plenitude” that “forces ever new forms of experimentation” (Thoburn, 2003, p. 19). Such a minor politics can be read as resistance – not opposition, but a “feeling for the inflections of power” (Colebrook, 2015, p. 126) that organises desire and appropriates it in the name of a “a people to come.”
I will undertake a "diffractive" reading (Barad, 2014) of Biesta and Deleuze (& Guattari), drawing on the secondary literature on Deleuze, particularly that which concerns Deleuzian/Deleuzoguattarian ethics (e.g., Bogue, 2007; Braidotti, 2006) and "minor politics" (e.g., Colebrook, 2015; Patton, 2008, 2011; Thoburn, 2003). The reading will build on a post-qualitative experiment in the Deleuzian pedagogy of affect that I co-wrote in 2017 (Roder & Sturm, 2017).
I will explore how Deleuze's teaching and philosophy can counter-actualise Biesta's "pedagogy of interruption" (Biesta, 2009).
Barad, K. (2014). Diffracting diffraction: Cutting together-apart. Parallax, 20(3), 168187. Berry, D. M., & Galloway, A. R. (2016). A network is a network is a network: Reflections on the computational and the societies of control. Theory, Culture & Society, 33(4), 151-172. Biesta, G. J. J. (2017). The rediscovery of teaching. London: Taylor & Francis. Biesta, G. J. J. (2012). Becoming public: Public pedagogy, citizenship and the public sphere. Social & Cultural Geography, 13(7), 683-697. Biesta, G. J. J. (2009). What is at stake in a pedagogy of interruption? In T. E. Lewis, J. G. A. Grinberg, & M. Laverty (Eds.), Philosophy of education: Modern and contemporary ideas at play (pp. 785-807). Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt. Bogue, R. (2013). Deleuze on cinema. New York: Routledge. Bogue, R. (2007). Immanent ethics. In Deleuze's way: Essays in transverse ethics and aesthetics (pp. 7-15). Hampshire: Ashgate. Braidotti, R. (2006). Transpositions: On nomadic ethics. Cambridge: Polity. Colebrook, C. (2015). Resistance to Occupy. In A. Conio (Ed.), Occupy: A people yet to come (pp. 125-157). London: Open Humanities Press. Deleuze, G. (1994). Difference and repetition (P. Patton, Trans.). New York, NY: Columbia University Press. Deleuze, G. (1990). The logic of sense (C. V. Boundas, Ed.; M. Lester, C. Stivale, Trans.). New York, NY: Continuum. Deleuze, G. (1989). Cinema 2: The time-image (H. Tomlinson & R. Galeta, Trans.). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. Deleuze, G., & Guattari, F. (1994). What is philosophy? (G. Burchell & H.Tomlinson, Trans.). London: Verso Press. Deleuze, G., & Guattari, F. (1986). Kafka: Toward a minor literature (D. Polan, Trans.). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. Jackson, A. Y., & Mazzei, L. A. (2013). Plugging one text into another: Thinking with theory in qualitative research. Qualitative Inquiry, 19(4), 261-271. —. (2012). Thinking with theory in qualitative research: Viewing data across multiple perspectives. New York, NY: Routledge. Roder, J., & Sturm, S. (2017). Flight from flight: Composing a pedagogy of affect. In C. Naughton, G. Biesta, & D.R. Cole (Eds.), Art, artists and pedagogy: Philosophy and the arts in education. London: Routledge. Semetsky, I. (Ed.). (2008). Nomadic education: Variations on a theme by Deleuze and Guattari. Rotterdam: Sense. Semetsky, I. (2006). Deleuze, education and becoming. Rotterdam: Sense. Semetsky, I., & Masny, D. (Eds.). (2013). Deleuze and education. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Thoburn, N. (2003). Minor politics: The styles of cramped creation. In Deleuze, Marx and politics (pp. 15-46). London: Routledge.
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