Incorporeal transformations 1

Incorporeal transformations

Plateau 4: November 20, 1923 – Postulates of Linguistics

I. “Language is Informational and Communicational”

Start with collective assemblages of enunciation (CAE):

There is no individual enunciation, nor is there a subject of enunciation (79). “The social character of enunciation is intrinsically founded only if one succeeds in demonstrating how enunciation in itself implies collective assemblages” (80). From here, statements are individuated & enunciations subjectified as far as assemblage requires it. CAEs are thus of primary importance, and also the “redundant complex of the act and the statement that necessarily accomplishes it” (80) – however this is but a nominal definition. A real definition hinges on us asking what are these acts immanent to language that are redundant with statements (or that constitute order words).

These are the set of all incorporeal transformations in a particular society that are attributed to the bodies of that society (80). Important distinction between actions & passions that affect bodies and acts that are noncorporeal portions of the statement (parallel to passive and active affects in Spinoza). These transformations are instantaneous – “guilty!,” “I pronounce you man and wife” – and are marked by simultaneous expression and transformation (into a convict or a husband) (81).[1]

Benveniste: a performative depends on (internal and external) circumstances that make it a performative; “I declare a general mobilitzation” means nothing if one does not have the right to do so; it is not an act of enunciation (82). Incorporeal transformations apply to bodies but are incorporeal in that they are internal to enunciation; they are “variables of expression that establish a relation between language and the outside, but precisely because they are immanent to language” (82). Pragmatics considers external circumstances and internal aspects that demonstrate that language is not closed off.

“A type of statement can be evaluated only as a function of its pragmatic implications, in other words, in relation to the implicit presuppositions, immanent acts, or incorporeal transformations it expresses and which introduce new configurations of bodies” (83).

Again, CAE’s variables are incorporeal transformations, and whenever the assemblages are arranged in determinable relations, they constitute a regime of signs, a semiotic machine (83) – the conditions of possibility of language and usage of linguistic elements (85).

In Eugene Holland’s “Occupy Wall Street and The Slow Motion General Strike,” he notes that history is rarely as straightforward as the judge’s conviction. He writes “incorporeal transformations may occur without our even being aware of them at the time…” I find it helpful to (borrowing Protevi’s language) think of them as producing a differential field of potentialities, that can be actualized via future becomings.


[1] In Deleuze and Geophilosophy, Bonta and Protevi assert that this effect, the transformation, is the meaning of an utterance.

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