This page comprises an annotated bibliography of the work of
philosopher Manuel DeLanda (1952-). DeLanda addresses a broad range of scientific
and cultural concerns, and has written on topics as diverse as warfare, linguistics,
economics, evolution, chaos theory, self-organizing matter, nonlinear dynamics,
artificial life and intelligence, the internet and architecture, amongst many
others. He draws especially on the work of the late French philosopher Gilles
Deleuze, and many of his essays explicitly seek to demonstrate the utility of
Deleuze's work for thinking about current scientific and philosophical problems.
DeLanda teaches at Columbia University
Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation in New York.
Comments, corrections, additional texts and broken links can be reported to
. Bibliography compiled by Tom
Manuel DeLanda, 'Wittgenstein at the Movies'
presented at Cinema Histories, Cinema Practices I, University of Southern California, Monterey, California, May 1981
in Patricia Mellencamp & Phil Rosen (eds), Cinema Histories,
Cinema Practices, American Film Institute Monograph Series Vol 4, Los Angeles
CA: University Publications of America, 1984, pp. 108-19, ISBN 0313270031 (pbk)
Basing his analysis on Gilbert Ryle's account of dispositional
verbs, DeLanda argues that a spectator attributes possible worlds and likely
behaviours to a film's characters, and is hence actively involved in the plot.
He goes on to compare and contrast the relative merits of Saussure's (semiotic)
and Wittgenstein's (use) accounts of meaning for film theory, arguing that the
latter is especially well suited to account for a spectator's labour in producing
and inhabiting these possible worlds.
Scott MacDonald & Manuel DeLanda, 'Raw Nerves: An Interview
with Manuel DeLanda'
interview by Scott MacDonald in Afterimage, Vol 13, No
6, January 1986, pp. 12-15
reprinted in Scott MacDonald, A Critical Cinema: Interviews with Independent Filmmakers, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988, pp334-352, ISBN 0-520-05801-1 (pbk)
Amongst biographical details, DeLanda discusses magic mushrooms,
film noir, his 3D cityscape software, phone freaks, computers, AIDS,
secret societies in Grand Central tunnels, Professor Momboozoo's performances,
the Spring Street incident, and his short films Shit (1975), Song
of a Bitch (1976), Saliva Dildo (1976), Itch Scratch Itch Cycle
(1976), Incontinence (1978), Ismism (1979), Raw Nerves
(1980), Harmful or Fatal if Swallowed (1982), Judgement Day (1983),
Porking Jesus, Public Enema and My Dick.
Manuel DeLanda, 'Policing the Spectrum'
in Michel Feher & Sanford Kwinter (eds), Zone 1/2: City,
New York: Urzone/Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986, pp. 177-87
DeLanda tracks the surveillance system's attempt to police the
abstraction process. Baudrillard and others have reduced this varied process
to the single vector of signification (simulacra), whereas its variety, and
need for concrete instantiation, is vital. DeLanda discusses military crypotology,
the covert mapping of Tibet, Enigma and the Turing machine, the NSA and CIA,
early hacking, cellular automata, and the abstraction/extraction of bodily knowledge,
and knowledge of the body, for the purposes of discipline, control and chemical
weapons. Just as controllers improvise concrete policing methods for new abstract
spaces, theorists must multiply levels of analysis (epistemological anarchism)
in order to trace cracks and escape routes in the policing machine.
Manuel DeLanda, 'Virtual Environments as Intuition Synthesizers'
DeLanda examines various ways in which virtual environments can
help us to synthesize fresh intuitions. He discusses emergent properties
and their implications for reductionistic methods of analysis; population
thinking and its use in combating essentialism; game theory
and Axelrod's breakthrough in the prisoner's dilemma; and the implications
of artificial intelligence for rationalism. This essay was revised
and expanded as
'Virtual Environments and the Emergence of Synthetic Reason', 1993.
Manuel DeLanda, ‘DeLanda Destratified’
interview by Erik Davis in Mondo 2000, No 8, Winter 1992,
DeLanda discusses self-organizing matter, nonlinear science,
stratometers, stratification and destratification, Deleuze & Guattari and
their disciples, tripping in Mexico, materialism over mysticism, cellular automata,
liquidity as natural computing, progress vs increasingly complex layers (strata),
the Himalayas as a ripple, flows over rocks, the ethics of destratified living,
Nazis, Jim Morrison, Weathermen, the dangers of destratification.
Manuel DeLanda, War in the Age of Intelligent Machines
New York: Zone, 1992, ISBN 0-942299-75-2 (pbk)
Manuel DeLanda, ‘Nonorganic Life’
in Jonathan Crary & Sanford Kwinter (eds), Zone 6: Incorporations,
New York: Urzone, 1992, pp. 129-67, ISBN 0-942299-29-9 (pbk)
In this wide-ranging paper DeLanda argues that, in order to take
full advantage of virtual environments as research tools, we must purge ourselves
of various philosophical notions. Replacing ideal types with population thinking
allows us to see evolutionarily stable systems as the result of selection pressures
operating within a variable population. Similarly, we should not view these
stable systems as closed and static, but open and dynamic, and thus capable
of producing emergent properties. He contrasts synthetic, bottom-up,
connectionist approaches, typical of Artificial Life, with the analytic, top-down
approaches typical of early Artificial Intelligence, and examines Robert Axelrod's
study of the evolution of co-operation. These themes are examined more briefly
'Virtual Environments as Intuition Synthesizers', 1992. He closes by suggesting
how virtual environments might also benefit research into economics and linguistics,
themes developed more fully in A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History, 1997.
Manuel DeLanda, ‘Manuel DeLanda on Speed’
interview in Blam!
Interactive CD-ROM Magazine, 1993
Starting from the theme of 'home', and ranging over diverse academic
fields, DeLanda draws on the literally analogous example of bird territories
in order to argue that highly ordered structures (minds, languages, bird song,
homes, cities) can arise without being (entirely) planned by a centred agency.
As ever, the crucial importance of matter-energy flows, and of mixtures of meshwork
and hierarchy, is emphasized. During the course of the essay DeLanda refers
to the work of Lorenz & Tinbergen, Daniel Dennett, Deleuze & Guattari,
Pattie Maes (competing symbolic and behavioural approaches to AI), James Gibson
(affordances), Andy Clark, Richard Dawkins (memes) and Nelson & Winter (evolutionary
economics). (The essay anticipates some material that DeLanda develops more
'Immanence and Transcendence in the Genesis of Form', 1997)
Manuel DeLanda, ‘Embedded Intelligence and Processes of Self-Organization:
The Case of Intelligent Vehicle/Highway Systems’
Delanda discusses two attempts to use embedded computer intelligence
for traffic control: artificial intelligence which takes a centralized,
hierarchical, top-down, analytic approach, and artificial life which
takes a decentralized, meshwork, bottom-up, synthetic approach. DeLanda argues
that centralized control always operates within the constraints of a larger,
self-organised system in which critical thresholds determine behaviour. He advocates
communication between vehicles in order to create a mutually beneficial, decentralized
Includes a brief biography, plus discussion of top-down analysis
and bottom-up synthesis, artificial (life) ecosystems, colony intelligence and
flock behaviour, DeLanda's paper at Ars Electronica 94,
bottom-up economic simulations (and SimCity), chaos theory and the non-‘progressive’
study of society, socialism and anarchism, the need to liquefy (decentralize)
society, consumer culture, meshworks of producers, Japanese zaibatsus (big corporations),
the Internet and corporate take-over, Chomsky & Saussure’s top-down (structured)
approaches to linguistics, memes and norms, the emergence of English, the idea
of bottom-up linguistics.
Manuel DeLanda, ‘The Geology of Morals: A Neomaterialist Interpretation’
presented at Virtual Futures 95 Conference, Warwick University,
Manuel DeLanda, ‘Kicking Social-Constructivist Ass’
presented at Virtual Futures 96 Conference, Warwick University,
Taking his cue from philosopher of science Larry Lauden, DeLanda
enumerates six ways in which social-constructivism labours under the same assumptions
as positivism, including linguistic reductionism, conventionalism, underdetermination,
and the primacy of the algorithm and of cumulativity. He suggests various more
productive, functional, procedural, heterogeneous, connectionist alternatives.
Manuel DeLanda, ‘Interview’
interview by Konrad Becker and Miss M. at Virtual Futures
96 Conference, Warwick University, UK, May 1996
DeLanda discusses self-organising processes, markets and anti-markets,
Adam Smith and the Invisible Hand, Braudel, contemporary command economies,
the Internet, micro-payments, bandwidth, instant criticism, commodification,
Marx, Lenin, materialism and neomaterialism, hurricanes, Ancient Greece and
blacksmiths, Apple Macs, (virtual) money, the material base of virtuality, Gaia,
geological philosophy and non-organic life.
DeLanda argues that, in order to avoid mere metaphor, we must
distinguish two kinds of non-genetic replicator: those based on imitation (memes)
and those based on obligatory repetition (norms). We must also attend to interactors,
the cultural 'enzymes' which act as catalysts intervening in reality. This post
complements comments made in
Homes: Meshwork or Hierarchy?
Manuel DeLanda, 'Sensibilidad Española al Internet'
interview by Vibeke Kløvstad & Hans Christian Arnseth,
Morgenbladet, 30.08.96 (in Spanish)
part of Grahame Weinbren & James Cathcart's installation
first exhibited at Art
in the Anchorage, Brooklyn Bridge, New York, USA, 04.06.97-03.08.97
Manuel DeLanda, 'Intelligent Computer Interfaces'
presented at 6CyberconfConference, University of Oslo, Norway, 05-06.06.97
Manuel DeLanda, ‘Immanence & Transcendence in the Genesis
in Ian Buchanan (ed), A Deleuzian Century?: South Atlantic
Quarterly, Vol 96, No 3, Summer 1997, Durham: Duke University Press, pp. 499-514, ISBN
0-8223-6451-4; reprinted 1999, ISBN 0-8223-2392-3 (pbk)
Using examples from geology, biology and sociology, DeLanda examines
Deleuze and Guattari’s claim that form and structure are immanent to
matter. He explains how the same ‘abstract machine’ (diagram) can apply
literally to such different domains. He examines in detail abstract
machines for two key sorts of self-generating structure: strata and meshworks.
During the course of the essay, DeLanda provides effective illustrations of
key Deleuzian terms such as state space, phase space, singularity, strata,
tree, self-consistent aggregate, rhizome, abstract machine, double articulation,
content, territorialization, expression, coding, machinic,stratification,
body-without-organs, plane of consistency and intensity. The essay
duplicates material from
'The Geology of Morals: a Neo-Materialist Interpretation', 1995.
Manuel DeLanda, 'Interview with Manuel DeLanda'
interview by Brett Stalbaum et al in SWITCH, Vol 3, No 3, Winter 1997, San José State University
DeLanda discusses his increasing interest in theoretical rather
than artistic questions, the future role of the artist, the relation of artist
to Internet, the artist's relation to strata, low-dimensional deterministic
chaos, the current bifurcation in the historical process that is globalization,
Napoleon as a catalyst for a new war machine, and the three different non-anthropocentric
perspectives he adopts in
A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History, 1997.
Drawing on 'Difference & Repetition' and 'One Thousand Plateaus',
and on examples from thermodynamics and chemistry, DeLanda explains Deleuze's
theory of matter and immanent form. During the course of the essay he provides
clear explanations and illustrations of key Deleuzian terms such as divergent
actualization, possible and real, virtual and actual, state space and phase
space, singularity, abstract machine and virtual diagram. (The essay
duplicates material discussed in
'Immanence & Transcendence in the Genesis of Form', 1997.)
Manuel DeLanda, A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History
New York: Zone Books/Swerve Editions, 1997, ISBN 0-942299-32-9 (pbk)
In DeLanda's second book he draws on the insights of thermodynamics
and evolutionary biology to provide a philosophically informed nonequilibrium
and nonlinear historical account of human social processes over the last thousand
years. The three chapters of the book deal with geological history (urban
economics, technologies and institutions), biological history (germs,
weeds, plants, animals and food in city 'ecosystems') and linguistic history
(the evolution and stratification of the 'sonic matter' of dialects, creoles,
pidgins and official languages). Each chapter includes a short, philosophical
Manuel DeLanda, Netzwerke (Meshrooms)
Wabern: Benteli Verlag, 1997, ISBN 3716510092 (pbk)
Manuel DeLanda, 'Interview with Manuel DeLanda'
interview by Pablo Lazo Elizondo, La Jornada Semanal,
21.06.98 (in Spanish)
Suggesting that we can better understand contemporary global
network technologies if we look to the past (and Foucault), DeLanda first draws
a distinction between knowledge which is explicit (representational,
routinized, homogenizing) and that which is implicit (bodily, flexible,
heterogeneous). Using examples from linguistics (local dialects and official
languages), economics (economies of agglomeration and scale, Silicon Valley,
Emilia-Romagna) and computers (Internet protocols and standards) he suggests
that we must recognize a distinction between unification (the result of the
convergence of heterogeneities), and 'militaristic' uniformization (the result
of homogenizing discipline).
Manuel DeLanda, ‘Urban Dynamics in Western History’
in Gerfried Stocker & Christine Schopf (eds), LifeScience:
Ars Electronica 99, Proceedings of the Ars Electronica Conference
on BioTechnology, Vienna & New York: Springer, 1999, ISBN 3-211-83368-4
DeLanda discusses his historical methodology, emphasizing his
desire to move away from the relativist, interpretative approach, which focuses
on 'frameworks' and 'ideologies', and to concentrate instead on the heterogeneity
of material and energetic processes; his preference for bottom-up and morphogenetic
rather than essentialist or totalising accounts of entities; and the need to
move away from the inflated importance attributed to semiotics and linguistics.
Manuel DeLanda, 'Can Theories of Self-Organization Help Us Understand
This tiny essay considers a range of military surveillance techniques
(spy planes, satellites, x-rays, radiowaves, infrared, multispectral scanning,
night vision), and suggests that, with their increasing use on civilians during
peace time, we are moving from the old Panopticon to a wider Panspectron.
Manuel DeLanda, ‘Democracy, Economics and the Military’
After asserting his realist conviction in the self-creativity
of matter, DeLanda concerns himself with breeding (evolving) novel virtual buildings
(rather than designing them). There are three potential problems for the architect,
with three corresponding contributions from Deleuze. The first concerns replicators,
and the benefits of population thinking about reproductive communities.
The second concerns the need for load bearing structures, and the benefits of
intensive thinking about productive differences. The third concerns the
rich surge space necessary for genuinely novel buildings, and the benefits of
non-Eudlidean thinking about abstract diagrams, topologies and multiplicities.
Manuel DeLanda, ‘The Politics of Software: The Case for Open
Magazine, New York: Foundation for the Study of Independent Social
Ideas, Fall 2001
Manuel DeLanda, ‘(unknown)’
in The Future of Cinema: Immersive and Interactive: (dis)LOCATIONS,
December 2001, ZKM Digital Arts series, DVD-Rom plus booklet, Ostfildern: Hatje
Cantz Publishers, ISBN 3775710876
Manuel DeLanda, 'Open-Source: A Movement in Search of a Philosophy'
After briefly defining key terms (hacker, cracker, source code,
compiler, application program, production tool, operating system) DeLanda sets
out to examine the philosophical import of the open-source movement. Rejecting
attempts by Richard Stallman and Eric Raymond to explain the momement in terms
of moral principles or 'pride of craftsmanship', Delanda instead draws on transaction
cost economics in order to examine the movement's General Public License (GPL)
and leadership system. He concludes that of greatest significance have been
the unintended pragmatic consequences of this collective and evolutionary movement,
rather than any explicitly stated intentions on the part of its main protagonists.
Manuel DeLanda, ‘Philosophies of Design: The Case of Modelling
in Jaime Salazar, Albert Ferré, Manuel Gausa, Ramon Prat,
Tomoko Sakamoto & Anna Tetas (eds), Verb Architecture Boogazine:
Authorship and Information, No 1, Madrid: Actar Press, March 2002,
ISBN 84-95273-55-1 (pbk)
Manuel DeLanda, Intensive Science and Virtual Philosophy
London & New York: Continuum, 2002, ISBN 0-8264-5623-5 (pbk)
In DeLanda's third book he reconstructs Deleuze's realist ontology,
focusing principally on Difference and Repetition and Logic of Sense.
DeLanda examines Deleuze's account of the virtual structure of the dynamic,
intensive processes immanent to matter and energy. Ideas and examples are drawn
from differential geometry, group theory, dynamical systems theory, evolutionary
theory, embryology and other areas. (A useful outline of the structure of this
text, drawn up by John Protevi, can be found at: http://www.protevi.com/john/Postmodernity/IntensiveScienceOutline.html.)
Manuel DeLanda, ‘A New Ontology for the Physical Sciences’
presented at Philosophy
As..., University of London, UK, 30.12.02
DeLanda discusses two sorts of archive, both of which are employed
in the production of identity: the social and the non-human. Of the former,
he distinguishes those used to legitimate traditions (eg the Vatican
archive) and those used to control individuals (eg police or hospital
records). Of the latter, he provides the examples of DNA (which maintains
the genetic identity of a species) and of topological or virtual forms
(a reservoir of 'deeper order' forms). In passing he mentions online identity
switching and theft, Klingons and cosmetic gene manipulation, chimpanzees, convergent
evolution, et al.
Manuel DeLanda, '1000 Years of War'
interview by Evan Selinger et al for ctheory.net, 01.05.03
DeLanda discusses biotechnology & intellectual property rights,
decentralized military decision-making, intelligent weaponry & 'honourable'
tactics, self-organizing markets, methods of behaviour modelling, Latour's critique
of ideology, normative positions and ethics in his realist philosophy, processes
of individuation, reference & metaphor in science, the limitations of anthropocentric
ontology, Humean causality, Andrew Pickering vs Ian Hacking, scales of time,
Bruno Latour & Stephen Wolfram, black boxes, universal warehouses &
the internet, phenomenology & soap bubbles, Freud, Deleuze & Guattari's
implicit Marxism, Braudel on markets & production, social constructivism
& positivism, and his selective reading of Deleuze.
DeLanda argues for a Deleuzian philosophy of nature. In the first
half he rejects a sharp distinction between culture and nature. He demonstrates
instead the direct interaction between the biological and social, citing examples
from William McNeill's Plagues and Peoples, and Alfred Crosby's Ecological
Imperialism. We must dismiss social-constructivism's obsession with language
and cultural representation. In the second half, DeLanda argues that, in order
to avoid this provincial anthropocentrism, we must be realists, but not essentialists.
We must historicize nature, and replace ideas about 'laws of nature' with Deleuze's
singularities (special, topological points) and affects (the capacity to affect
and be affected).
Manuel DeLanda, 'Deleuze and the Use of the Genetic Algorithm
DeLanda explains his approach as a 'hacker-philosopher': unlike
career academics who are required to specialise, he is able to research different
disciplines and thereby to create connections between fields. He also discusses
the concept of open source, the internet, the General Public License (GPL),
Microsoft and standards.
Delanda briefly discusses his "new book" (Philosophy,
Emergence and Simulation), insect intelligence, and animal phenomenology
as a counter to provincial anthropocentrism. Excerpt from a panel discussion.
Manuel DeLanda, 'Materialism, Experience and Philosophy'