Roots and Rhizomes—Some Reflections on Contemporary Pedagogy

Abstract
During this article, I look at three images of thought which feature in Deleuze and Guattari's A Thousand Plateaus and consider their relevance to contemporary pedagogy. Deleuze and Guattari begin by discussing tree-like thought, which involves an insular depiction of the world. I suggest that the performative apparatus, which structures contemporary pedagogy in the comprehensive school, is also tree-like. Deleuze and Guattari's second image of thought is the fascicular root. Here the principle root is aborted leading to a multiplicity, which flows from it. With fascicular thought, the unity, which is aborted in the object, is returned to in the subject who gains control of multiplicities. In this section I provide a reading of a Classics lesson portrayed in The Secret History by Donna Tartt and go on to focus on Ronald Barnett's contribution to a debate with Paul Standish, which features in The Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Education. In the third section of the article, I consider Deleuze and Guattari's third image of thought—the rhizome. Rhizomes grow by a process of cloning or lateral spreading; they do not have the central trunk of the tree, with roots and branches extending outwards from this. At the end of this section, I look at two Classics lessons that represent tree-like and rhizomatic pedagogies in turn. I attempt to enrich this discussion by providing a reading of a scene from The History Boys
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Claire Colebrook (2010). The Secret of Theory. Deleuze Studies 4 (3):287-300.
Stephen Zepke (2009). Deleuze, Guattari, and Contemporary Art. In Eugene W. Holland, Daniel W. Smith & Charles J. Stivale (eds.), Gilles Deleuze: Image and Text. Continuum.
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