‘In the Shadow of Shadows’: Spivak, Misreading, the Native Informant

  • Philip Leonard


In the closing pages of the ‘Philosophy’ chapter in A Critique of Postcolonial Reason, Spivak voices her admiration for Deleuze and Guattari’s reading of Marx. This reading, she argues, crucially recalibrates the value of ‘value’ in Marxism by situating both nature and capital in the order of desiring-production, turning the source of the human into a machinic structure that is coded (though one which, as Chapter 3 shows, resists interpretation in the moment that it is decoded). Contributing to this reassessment are, Spivak argues, often-neglected remarks in Anti-Oedipus that subtly rewrite Marx’s notion of the Asiatic Mode of Production by seeing in it a mutability that other accounts fail to discern. Deleuze and Guattari’s rewriting most visibly challenges organicist tendencies in ethnography by claiming that all regimes are constituted by a disruptive and disjunctive collision of fragments, rather than by the progressive coding of a coherent and continuous socius. For Spivak, however, their account of the Asiatic Mode of Production also lends itself to a rethinking both of capital’s insatiable wanderlust and of the disempowerment it engenders for its victims: ‘Deleuze and Guattari are not specialists of Asia.


Native Informant Cultural Study Postcolonial Theory Hindu Woman Deconstructive Reading 
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© Philip Leonard 2005

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  • Philip Leonard

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