Becoming-Mobile: the Philosophy of Technology of Deleuze and Guattari

Philosophy and Technology 35 (2):1-25 (2022)


Deleuze and Guattari’s Thousand Plateaus includes some useful concepts to understand technologies and their relations to humans as individuals and as a society. This article provides an introduction to their notions of machine and becoming and places them in the context of technological use in general, with a special focus on the cellphone. The concept of machine exceeds the technological context, yet it can be still relevant to technologies, especially digital ones. The concept of becoming assists in better understanding co-shaping processes in which a technology and its users change in tandem. Becoming is analyzed as a set of five characteristics: [1] transduction, a change process in both the user and the technology; [2] rhizome, no starting or end point; [3] molecularity, small movement or change that can create a big difference; [4] partial simulation, creating a non-identical copy; and [5] anti-memory, forgetting the past. Based on this analysis, the concept of becoming-mobile is introduced as a new way of understanding the interrelations between humans and their cellphones. Becoming-mobile can be further developed either with Deleuze and Guattari’s own concepts such as nomadicism or with “external” concepts such as postphenomenology’s embodiment and new mobility studies’ virtual mobility. Machine, becoming, and becoming-mobile address some basic questions in philosophy of technology, thereby enabling us to refer to Deleuze and Guattari as philosophers of technology.

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Galit Wellner
Tel Aviv University

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