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(2015) Deleuze and the non/human, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.


Deleuze and the non/human

Jon Roffe, Hannah Stark

pp. 1-16

The double figure of the wasp and the orchid features at a number of key moments in the work of Gilles Deleuze. In A Thousand Plateaus, Deleuze and Guattari use this figure to illustrate a series of significant interrelated concepts, including the rhizome, becoming, de- and reterritorialization. They are fascinated by the way certain orchids display the physical and sensory characteristics of female wasps in order to attract male wasps into a trans-species courtship dance, which they describe as "against nature".1 As these wasps move from flower to flower, desperately trying to copulate with them, so too does the pollen which has been transferred to their bodies. Through this seduction the wasps are unsuspectingly co-opted into the orchid's reproductive apparatus. This is a signal example of what Deleuze and Guattari call a becoming: the wasp, enlisted into the reproductive cycle of the orchid, engages in a becoming-orchid. This is not, they stress, an act of imitation, but a genuine incorporation of the body of the wasp into the orchid's reproduction. The same is true in turn for the orchid itself, which engages in a becoming-wasp, not by copying the female wasp, but by crossing over into the zone of indiscernibility between it and the wasp in a series of de- and re-territorializations.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1057/9781137453693_1

Full citation:

Roffe, , Stark, (2015)., Introduction: Deleuze and the non/human, in J. Roffe & H. Stark (eds.), Deleuze and the non/human, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 1-16.

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