The Philosophical Concept of Rhizome

Literary Theory and Criticism

Rhizome comes from the Greek rhizoma . Rhizome is often taken as being synonymous with “root”; in botany, a rhizome is a plant structure that grows underground and has both roots (commonly, the part that grows down into the ground) and shoots (commonly, the part that grows up through the ground). The word is associated with postmodern theorists Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, who use the rhizome to describe a process of existence and growth that does not come from a single central point of origin. In A Thousand Plateaus, Deleuze and Guattari name arborescence or the model of the tree as the paradigm for knowledge and practice in the modern Western world; in this model, a small idea—a seed or acorn—takes root and grows into a tree with a sturdy trunk supporting numerous branches, all linked to and traceable back to the original seed. The seed or…

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