Machines driving machines: Deleuze and Guattari’s asignifying unconscious

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The psychoanalytic tradition is split. Most marketing theorists work with a linguistic model, treating the unconscious as an extension of conscious language. This article promotes the machinic model of Deleuze and Guattari, which treats the unconscious as asubjective but also asignifying. This means that the unconscious is comprised of colliding forces and their contingent connections, rather than a chain of signification in a wider symbolic structure. There are a small number of machinic or proto-machinic articles in marketing theory, but this article explores how explicating the Deleuzoguattarian model could reconceptualise: (1) the unconscious, (2) its relation to sociomaterial systems, (3) its relation to marketing practice, and (4) the role of critical marketing theory. This article also argues that there is a strategic benefit in searching for complementarities between Deleuze and Guattari, on the one hand, and other psychoanalytic thinkers, on the other. A united front of unconscious understandings would be advantageous in a discipline that lionises conscious choice. As such, this article presents the machinic model as another perspective in the already pluralistic tradition of psychoanalytic marketing theory.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-516
Number of pages16
JournalMarketing Theory
Issue number4
Early online date30 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021


  • Assemblage
  • Deleuze
  • Guattari
  • machinic
  • psychoanalysis
  • schizoanalysis
  • unconscious


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