Becoming-Animal Is a Trap for Humans: Deleuze and Guattari in Madagascar

Palgrave Macmillan
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Deleuze and the Non/Human, 2015, pp. 42 - 62
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"If you were introducing Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari 's A Thousand Plateaus (1980) to a seven-year-old who found Anti-Oedipus (1972) boring, you might say that the sequel has more animals." This essay argues that Deleuze and Guattari's concept of 'becoming-animal' offers a a supple framework for reading the nonhuman outside the templates provided by psychoanalysis and structuralism. At the same time, it argues that 'becoming-animal' entraps the reader at the very moment that it acquires any normative force, because the will to 'become-animal' presupposes a modality of narcissistic ego-formation. It makes these arguments by way of DreamWorks' 'Madagascar' animated film franchise, read through psychoanalytic, structuralist and queer lenses, and pays special attention to despotic lemur King Julien, an "anomalous" figure of cultural mobility.
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