Minor Science

Dimitri Papadopoulos, in his article regarding activist materialism, refers to Deleuze and Guattari's description of minor science (or nomad, ambulant, or itinerant science) that can be found in A Thousand Plateaus in Proposition III titled, War Machine. He explains that instead of trying to use a theorem to explain phenomena, or trying to make knowledge or technology to control it, we should surrender to matter. But what does that mean? (Papadopoulos 77-78).

Deleuze and Guattari draw out the difference between minor science, and state or royal science in the section titled "Treatise on Nomadology." Functioning as more of an experimental mode of doing science, minor science involves confronting problematics themselves rather than theorems, looking for flux in both what we know and what is problematized, and resisting reproduction while following so that how we see the world can be different than how the royal science describes it. In addition,there is a tension between minor science and state or royal science. Minor science, which is outside of the state is constantly being appropriated by the state turning them into strict formulas, models, strict forms, or theorems, while at the same time minor science (or nomad science) is constantly cutting the contents of state science loose (398-413).

But what does this mean for methodology? Deleuze and Guattari argue that in itinerant, ambulant sciences one follows a flow that may seem like accidents. Once this methodology is picked up by royal sciences it then must subscribe to a new model and can only exist in the capacity of technologies and applied sciences (411). The tension between the two sciences are explained best, "In the field of interaction of the two sciences, the ambulant sciences confine themselves to inviting problems whose solution is tied to a whole set of collective, nonscientific activities but whose scientific solution depends, on the contrary, on royal science in the way it has transformed the problem by introducing it into this theorematic apparatus and its organization of work" (413).