Guattari and the Four Strata of Self

Dr. Stephen Luis Vilaseca

Four Strata of Self

Image and extract are taken from my article “Félix Guattari and urban cultural studies” published in the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies. You can access the full text here for free.

According to Guattari, the self is made up of four strata: 1) existential territories (T) such as the body proper and lived space; 2) stratified flows (F) some examples of which are representation, materiality, buildings, and constructed space; 3) incorporeal universes (U) which may include but are not limited to poetry, music, performance art, the plastic arts, graffiti, urban art and cinema; and 4) abstract machinic Phyla (Φ) which is a way of relating the other aforementioned heterogeneous components of self. I am at once my body proper (T), the built environment I inhabit (F), my creative ideas (U), and the relations between those three elements (Φ). In Guattari’s mapping of subjectivity, there is a continual interplay between content…

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