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A response to Ian Buchanan’s essay Deleuze and Pop Music
I also think that Deleuze and Guattari’s work is useful in the study of popular music, and here’s to Ian Buchanan for raising the whole issue in general. However, I also wish there was a little more specificity in the acknowledgement of Deleuze and Guattari’s actual views. The other problem with Ian’s assertions is that, as is so often the case, they bracket together Deleuze and Guattari. Deleuze’s supposed rejection of the popular is pretty untenable in my view — but Guattari is, at times, quite specifically in favour of popular music (see his Les Trois Ecologies: 20 where he writes — excuse the poverty of the translation — that rock music ‘permits the young to constitute for themselves a minimum of existential territory’). Of course, there have also been quite a number of articles on the issue recently — and on Deleuze and Guattari and music in general for quite some time. These include Charles Stivale’s work on cajun dance, my own on Deleuze and Guattari’s Refrain and Nick Cave (in the January, 1996 issue of Perfect Beat), and a rather wonderful essay I read recently by Robyn Mackay titled “Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Wildstyle in Full Effect” (in Keith Pearson’s Deleuze and Philosophy). So I would join in with the cry to let the dance commence if it wasn’t for the fact that we already seem to be dancing backwards.
Andrew Murphie teaches English and Cultural Studies at Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, Australia.