DELEUZE & GUATTARI'S "MAP"
A map, for Deleuze and Guattari, is not a stable, fixed representation of place, but is productive, performative, in flux, and has multiple entryways. Deleuzoguattarian maps do not aim to represent anything, but instead function as a way to think differently about something. A map can be placed in opposition to what Deleuze and Guattari (1987) call a tracing, or something like a traditional map, which aims to organize, stabilize, and neutralize. Tracings always “come back to the same” (p. 13) whereas maps are “oriented toward an experimentation in contact with the real” and is “open and connectible in all of its dimensions” (p. 12). When conceiving of a Deleuzoguattarian map, one considers the discursive, material, and social relations and formations to create “possible realities” (p. 12). Yet, tracings, fixed and stable representations, are always put back on the map to reveal “the dominant discursive and material forces at play” as well as those “forces that have been elided, marginalized or ignored altogether and forces that might have the power to transform or reconfigure reality in various ways” (Martin & Kamberelis, 2013, p. 671). In this sense, Deleuze and Guattari’s ideas about mapping do not get rid of maps as we know them. Instead, these maps become part of a more inclusive and larger mapping project.
This reconceptualization of mapping stems from Deleuze and Guattari’s thinking about ontology. Most people understand ontology as the nature of being, but these philosophers think about it in terms of becoming. Mapping, then, is as an active process that charts becoming(s) and not just the current state or something or somewhere. It aims to explore new realms and possibilities. It helps break down binaries and explores how things are not this or that, but can be this and that and many other things all at once. Mapping acknowledges the many entities, processes, and discourses that go into any single second, space, feeling, or thought.