The Risky Truth of Fabulation: Deleuze, Bergson and Durkheim on the becomings of religion and art

Stenner, Paul (2018). The Risky Truth of Fabulation: Deleuze, Bergson and Durkheim on the becomings of religion and art. Annual Review of Critical Psychology, 14 pp. 169–192.

Abstract

Based on a close reading of relevant works of Gilles Deleuze, and informed by Emile Durkheim and Henri Bergson's writings on religion, this paper articulates a novel concept of 'fabulation' which has significant implications for psychosocial theory. Beginning with a discussion of Jean Rouch's classic film ‘Les Maîtres Fous’, a distinction is drawn between a Deleuzian vision of fabulation as a profound fiction at the heart of the real, and an objectivising version which always contrasts fabulation with a supposedly external standard of reality. This latter version is clearly expressed in the literature of the psy-disciplines, but is also expressed in cultural forms such as the 'cinema of reality'. After sketching the connections between Deleuze’s more risky yet also profound version of fabulation, Rouche’s ‘cinéma vérité’, and Scholes’ ‘fabulator’ tradition in literature (Vonnegut, Durrell, Navakov etc.), this concept of fabulation is traced back to Bergson's critical encounter with Durkheim over the question of the sacred. With help from the recent work of Ronald Bogue, the paper ends by emphasising the tight connection between fabulation and the dynamics of becoming.

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