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  In A Thousand Plateaus, Deleuze and Guattari privilege ideas of spatiality (evidenced by the privileged term of 'plateau') and the geographies and cartographies of movement, presenting these as an informal antidote to history (here they can be distinguished from Michel Foucault). Even in their geological discussions, history is presented as being subsumed within the constitution of space; it is significant for the role that time plays in movement across fields (in, for example, its relations of speed and slowness), but not for its institutionalised mode of categorical dating. Rather than denying the affectivity of history, Deleuze and Guattari reject the universalising chronological grand narrative strategies that are frequently associated with it. In their preference for lines of flight and becoming, they critique history for being a tool of the unitary State apparatus. These lines are understood not only as a deterritorialising impulse, but they also contribute to the spatial, material and psychological components that constitute or deconstitute a society, group, or individual (those apparatuses that comprise history as a lived, experiential assemblage of events and circumstances). All these components help produce the concept of a 'territory' that concomitantly accompanies the concepts of 'deterritorialisation' and 'reterritorialisation'.
  The concept of 'territory' evades easy categorisation because rather than being a sedentary place maintaining firm borders against outside threat, the territory itself is a malleable site of passage. As an assemblage, it exists in a state of process whereby it continually passes into something else. However, it also maintains an internal organisation. A territory is also an assemblage that, as a necessary component of deterritorialisation, accompanies the concept of 'nomadology'. A territory refers to a mobile and shifting centre that is localisable as a specific point in space and time. It does not privilege or maintain the nostalgic or xenophobic protection of any particular homeland; instead, this centre (that may be more correctly called a 'vector' because it can reside outside of the assemblage/territory) expresses an experiential concept that has no fixed subject or object. It is neither symbolic nor representational, and does not signify. As an assemblage, a territory manifests a series of constantly changing heterogeneous elements and circumstances that come together for various reasons at particular times. Although a territory establishes connections from the areas of representation, subject, concept and being, it is distinct from a fixed image, signification or subjectivity. Through this, we can see that a territory is primarily marked by the ways movement occurs over the earth, rather than by State borders. A territory is necessarily lived and produced as a vague entity because of this desire to avoid categorisation by language or other State apparatuses. Hence, it is closely connected to molecular cognitive and non-cognitive - modes of movement.
  A territory does not simply hold back the process of deterritorialisation, nor does it provide it with an opposing or dichotomous term (Deleuze and Guattari contend that there is no need to leave the territory to follow a line of deterritorialisation). Neither does a territory provide a base or originary term (home) from which deterritorialisation may occur. Instead, it is a constant accompaniment to (and even proponent facilitating) the lines of flight deterritorialisation proposes.
  In addressing the idea of territory, Deleuze and Guattari discuss many examples, from the refrain of the birdcall (which they describe as a mode of expression that both draws a territory and envelops into territorial motifs and landscapes) to the role played by the artist's signature, that equates with placing a flag on a piece of land. However, they frequently return to the relationship between territory and the earth in order to show that the territory does not escape from maintaining its own organising principle and structure. This example is used to illustrate that such a relationship is not dichotomous simply in the sense that one term can be differentiated in a straightforward manner from the other. Instead, taken together, these terms show the magnetic pull that often works toward accumulating a synthesis of apparently disjunctive terms. As such, territories cannot contain or encompass the earth, but neither can the earth be fixed to a single territory. On the other hand, even though the earth embraces all territories (as a series of molecular or nomadic moments collected by the conjoining '. . . and . . . and . . . and' logic that motivates it), it is also the force of deterritorialisation and reterritorialisation since its continuous movements of development and variation unfold new relations of materials and forces (predicated on a relationship of speed and slowness). So, in contrast to the specific or localisable time and place offered by territories, the earth offers up an alternative complex assemblage (and various productive lines of becoming or flight) - the Body without Organs.
   § deterritorialisation / reterritorialisation
   § earth / land
   § nomadicism

The Deleuze Dictionary. Revised Edition. . 2015.

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  • territory —    by Kylie Message   In A Thousand Plateaus, Deleuze and Guattari privilege ideas of spatiality (evidenced by the privileged term of plateau ) and the geographies and cartographies of movement, presenting these as an informal antidote to history …   The Deleuze dictionary

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