Deleuze’s Postscript on the Societies of Control – U Coventry-Rev legendas Ricardo.borges

Deleuze’s Postscript on the Societies of Control – U Coventry-Rev legendas  Ricardo.borges


DO WE LIVE IN WHAT THE PHILOSOPHER Gilles
Deleuzes CALLS A CONTROL SOCIETY? IS THE NETWORKED NATURE OF THE CONTEMPORARY
MEDIA A CHARACTERISTIC FEATURE OF SOCIETIES
OF CONTROL ? OR DOES THE CURRENT LOSS OF FAITH IN
CAPITALISM NEO-LIBERALISM SIGNAL THAT THE SOCIETY OF CONTROL ARE , NOW IN CRISIS ? Deleuzes 1990 essay “Postscript on the society of control” is concerned with the transition from Michel Foucault´s disciplinary society
to what Deleuze calls Societies of Control. Disciplinary societies are characterized
by vast closed environments , each with their own laws , through which each individual ceassesly passes one to the other: family, school, barracks, factory and, depending on circumstances, the hospital. Above all, it is the prison which serves as the analogical model for the closed system of disciplinary society. These environments are about enclosure and confinement. Their project is to concentrate, to distribute in space, order in time, administer life. Deleuze´s Disciplinary societies
reached their peak in the beginning of the20th century It contentions that “ Just as Foucaults
disciplinary society has superseded society of soveriegnity so
, in a process that has accelereted after World War 2 , social organization today , has ceased to be disciplinary “ So much so that all those enclosed spaces associated with the disciplinary society are in crisis. The family is in crisis.
The health services is in crisis. The factory system is in crisis. All of which appears quite recognizable today , of course What is even more interesting, as far as the contemporary situations is concerned, is that all attempts by government to reform
these confined environment for the disciplinary society
are in vain. No matter how long these bounded spaces
may linger, no matter how long their death rolls
may be, ultimately they are finished, for Deleuze. Disciplinary Societies are supposedly in the process of being replaced by societies of control. The latter are are our immediate future according to
Deleuze in this essay , and Foucault allows it to be believed
It contain extremely rapid free-floating forms and continuous
control an instant communication Their operating environment spaces are
much more open As a result, __________ disciplinaries
societies are like different models or casting
which shape individuals, the mechanisms of the societies of control
are a modulation, like a self deforming cast that will continuously be changed from one moment to the other.
Instead of the prison or factories of the disciplinary societies we now have the corporation , which is like a spirit , a gas Deleuze puts it like this: ” The factory constitutes individuals as a single body to the double advantage of the boss who survey
each individual within the mass . And to the unions that mobilizes the mass resistance But, the corporation constantly presents the brashest rivalry
as a healthy form of emulation an excellent motivational force that
opposes individuals against one another and runs through
each dividing each within “ This is the case not just with regards
to the corporation but also to the School and the University, we
would argue . Here too, perpetual training reigns , by
the introduction of audit culture, evaluation forms , performance-related
pay and other forms of never-ending monitoring micro-management with continuous control
which can be: continued assessment, training and staff development
replacing the examination. “In a control based system , nothing
is left alone for long” Deleuze maintain elsewhere. Like the school, the university has been handed over to the corporation.
It is becoming less and less a closed site differentiated from the workspace
as another closed site. That said, it’s not a matter of one form
of society be more powerful than the other: disciplinarian as opposed to control society. Both types containing liberating and
enslaving forces that confront one another, so there’s
no need to fear or hope, for Deleuze.
“only to look for new weapons” Although written in 1990 , Deleuze´s essay seems surprisingly topical and current today
Nowhere more so, perhaps, as when he described the transition from the capitalism
of the past to that of the present . It is worth quoting him at length at
this point : “ Nineteenth-century capitalism is
a capitalism of concentration for production and property It, therefore, erects a factory as a space of enclosure,
the capitalist being the owner of the means of production but also progressively the owner of the other spaces conceived through analogy: (the workers familial house, the schoo)l.
. As for markets they are conquered sometimes by specialization sometimes by colonization
sometimes by lowering the cost of production But in the present situation, capitalism is no longer involved in production which it often relegates to the third world . It is a capitalism of higher order production It no longer buys raw materials and no
longer sells the finished products; It buys the finished products or assembled parts. What it wants is to sell it´s services
, but what it wants is to buy is stocks. This is no longer a capitalism for production , but for the products Which is to say; we are being sold or marketed. Thus it is essentially dispersive and the factory has given way to the
corporation the family, the school, the army the
factory no longer the distinct analogical spaces that converge towards
an owner, state or private power but coded
figures – deformable and transformable – of a single corporation that now has only stockholders . The conquest of the markets are made by grabbing control and no longer by disciplinary training. Corruption thereby gains a new power.
Marketing has become the center of the soul of the corporation. We are told that corporations have a soul which is the most terrifying news in the world. The operation of markets is now the instrument of social control and forms the impudent breed
of our master Control is short-term and of rapid rates
of turnover, but also continuous and without limit, while discipline is of long-duration,
infinite and discontinuous. Man is no longer man enclosed , but man
in debt” With this , Deleuze´s “ Postscript
on the Societies of Control “ appears to announce not just the fate
of the Corporation and with it the University, but also
anticipates the current credit crunch and global financial crisis. A crisis at the lead in the promise capitalism form A fall of capitalism to creditalism. As well as events such as the recent
protests outside British factories against the import
from workers from Europe Is the current financial crisis a
symptom of a crisis of the disciplinary societies? Or is it the operation of the markets hence, since the markets are now the instruments of control, the societies of control themselves that are in crisis? And if it is the control society itself that is in crisis, could we follow Deleuze
leads and try to predict what form of society
is going to come after the societies of control? Would this be an interesting and useful thing to do ? In a recent lecture in London , the philosopher Bernard Stiegler appeared to be attempting
just something of this kind. He suggested that we are faced by two
possible future scenarios as the control intensifies in the sense explained by Deleuze , or industrial capitalism passes from consumerist economy of the society control to what Stephen calls an economy of contribution.
Yet this analysis only bags a host of other questions. Can these two economies: the consumer economy and economy of contribution be so easily opposed as Stiegler seems to imply ? Can even disciplinary societies and the
Societies of Control be so easily contrasted ? Didn’t forms of what Deleuze refers to as control, exist in disciplinary societies and vice versa? Are the institutions at the disciplinary society really finished ?…everywhere ? Isn´t this a too linear and straightforward
a model ? Don’t some societies and other spaces
in places around the world still rely on the deployment of disciplinary
technologies that power production and so on ?
Presumably these are the very third world countries in which , Deleuze argues
Control Societies outsourced their production to. And , if that is so,
doesn’t control rely on and support a disciplinary and disciplined other? Don’t some aspect of those societies still rely on disciplinary technologies ? Not least the prison system , surely the deterant of encarceration relies on its break from the more cotidion controlling
the forces of our lives it relies upon its distinctive
disciplinary powers Coming back to Stieglers idea of the economy óf contribution
If people are to have their contributions to this new economy acknowledged have contributed , as he insists
this would still be part of a conventional economy of debt and exchange, in which case , it would not be a particularly new or
different form of economy at all There’s certainly nothing particularly
new about the way one features society in Stiegler´s case. The degree of participation that is perceived as being afforded by the contemporary computer-aided communication is being singled out here , privileged and then used to provide an explanation
of the nature of the society as such. Although the particular machine metaphor
for this is being drawn on , may be different, for Stiegler this kind of
contribution society commonly associated with the culture of web 2.0 rather than anything to do with the
clock, steam, engine or petrol motors .
This way of using a conceptual Metaphor using dominant machine metaphors of a given era is quite dominant now. One conceptual metaphor may have been replaced with another but the relation between that metaphor and the conceptual model of the world
is much the same . There is nothing that is really all that different here as far as the structure of the analysis
is concerned. The meaning of the world is being
read of the dominant mode of technology in a given era. With each kind of Society corresponding
to particular kind of machine as Deleuzes _____ control
_______ . Now, in this interview with Nigri , Deleuze acknowledges that machines don’t explain anything . “You have to analyze the collective arrangements in which machines are just one component, albeit an apparently priviledge one “.
Still it’s no use to know that , on this evidence, both these theorists, Deleuze and Stiegler, seem to be extremely confident
in their ability to access these collective arrangements.
The nature of social reality may have changed to the extend that , it now
can be said to be based more around the kind of production associated with the control society and their end ___?prizes____. ( as Maurizio Lazzarato calls them) than it
is with the factories of the fordism, modernism and disciplinary societies. But on this evidence, the ability of
philosophers or social thinkers to access or analyze this
reality clearly has not undergone anything like
such a profound transformation. All this points to something that , in different
ways, can be said to be a feature of both
Stieglers talk and Deleuzes text? But even though Greg Seigworth positions the current Deleuzeian boom in
contrast to human cultural theory , in terms of 13 ___ exhaustion ____________________ Isn´t there something that is rather structuralist about the analysis of both Deleuzes and Stieglers here ? Witness their apparent interest in uncovering underlying system of things and bringing to light and rendering
visible the structural principles, arrangements
and relationships that are at the heart a society as it were.
Witness too ,the reliance of both these thinkers on what appeared to be a rather
simple confrontation of binaries: consumption versus contribution ;
discipline versus control ; factory vs corporation ;
body versus gas; machine versus computer; Not to mention the grand narratives of almost linear historical development
and progression they appear to provide Without doubt there is something very
persuasive and seductive about all this but there is also something ___deductive__ as well. In their use of a grand narrative and
machine metaphors, could analysis of this kind not be said
to tell us almost as much, if not more , about
the will to power and knowledge of their authors and those who follow
their footsteps in an attempt to build on that foundation as they do contemporary
society ? In this respect, it is relatively easy
a matter , perhaps too easy to came up with explanations as to why text such as Postscript on the society of Control has been taken up and used so
readily within the social sciences and social theories specially.
It meets a need for large explanations of contemporary societies,
the workings of which can otherwise, often be too ambiguous and complex
and difficult to grasp. Explanations that have an added
advantage in that they can also be contrasted to previous structuralist ( post or otherwise ) theories, thus helping the user to feel as if they are
indeed very much at the cutting edge of some fashionable new Deleuzian paradigm. Or such an explanation is itself
too simplistic and reductive in time? Take the way Deleuze with his comments about the continuous network of codes ,
codes that marks access to information or rejects and web surfing it, has frequently
been drawn to say something about the Internet
and the network of contemporary society. That the Internet is a characteristic
feature of the society of control , For Deleuze , whereas the old society of sovereignty made use of simple machines : levers,
pulleys and clocks: the societies of control operate
with machines of a third type: computers . In this sense, it would be a fairly simple matter to position the ink and paper codex book as belonging to disciplinary society and in Disciplinary Societies one is always starting again , from book to book to book. Our liquid book would then presumably belong to societies of control with their continuous variation without limit . After all, one can finish a conventional book and start a new one but one can never finish a liquid book,
neither in terms of reading it nor writing it Rather it, too, is part of a continuous network: the corporation, the educational system, the armed services being meta-stable
states coexisting , much in the same modulation, like an universal system of ____ information. Notice that this does not necessarily have to be negative. But , how does one combat the gaseous and liquid nature of the corporation , of the university in the society of control ? Is political struggle now to be conducted with forms of resistance that are fixed and
solid ? Or should the gaseous ´enterprise´
be combated with new forms of resistance creativity and struggle that are similar
in spirit ? gas or liquid nature? More tactical
and strategic , and which are therefore likewise subject to continous change and modulation. If so , how is such an emphasis on creating and beeing open to the new and unexpected to be distinguished from earlier form of capitalism which emphasizes on continued innovations and creativity? It is here that question of ethics and politics come into play. It’s where we would argue we are required to make responsible
ethical and political decisions in specific, albeit undecidable , situations
and circumstances. After all creativity is not inherently
ethical and political at all . Some forms of creativity are
more ethical and political than others depending on the particular situation and
context. In this respect , given our concern
with raising questions on the notions of intellectual property
copyright and so forth with the liquid book project,
it is interesting that while Deleuze spends very little time in this essay
investigating precisely what the new weapons we would use against the controls societies are, of the two ( new weapons) , he does mention computer piracy as one; the other being the introduction of viruses. Nevertheless, Deleuze´s writing is previous to the world wide web as we currently know and understand it So is there a a question mark concerning
the extent in which Deleuze is actually able to tell something about the Web? “ Might the web not have followed
a line of flight away from the concept control in the intervening years ?” Is there a danger of using this concept to interpret the web will
not only go against Deleuze on his emphasis on creativity and experimentation as opposed to representation by saying “ this is that “ ?
But will in effect result in an attempt to discipline the Web in order to make it more like Deleuze’s philosophy as when people talk about digital media with its binary code allowing the modulation of a fixed structural grid that might never be
finally escaped . After all if the web is today still as Deleuze describes in his essay , then there has been very little actual modulation
continuous change since 1990 ? Or is it the point that there has been change in modulation , but it is within a fixed structural grid? And how appropriate is the concept of
control when it comes to thinking about the
Web anyway ? What about the question Mark Poster
raises in his essay on who controls digital
culture ? Can digital culture actually be controlled in a conventional sense ? Isn´t the very term control a rather
awkward one to use in this context? Isn’t it too much of ___feature___ form of a society that existed before those of control,
Deleuze is referring to? Suddenly one of the things that is both
interesting and surprising about a lot of Deleuze´s writing and it is a feature of this essay on control societies is its vagueness and the lack and subtlety and some of the ideas and language …or should that be ..”openness”? For example we know this is been _____ Deleuze is being creative and it’s about experiencing and experimenting rather than interpreting. In science one speaks of a control group and an experimental group,
The latter only being possible because of its relations to the former .
So there’s clearly a link here between control and experiment But it is interesting that so many responses to Deleuze´s Postscript to the Societies of Control do seem to represent and interpret it saying “ This means that” rather than experimenting with it. The generous response would be to say that this occurs because such interpretations are part of the very system of
control and interpretation Deleuze is trying to combat?
Perhaps using this essay as some form of modest weapon ? The one last question that remains , concerns Deleuze´s own responsibility
Is there a case to be made that it´s too easy for texts such as ´Postscript
on the society of Control´ to be picked up and adopted in rather unsubtle and uninteresting ways ? Or is this in fact one of the reasons
Deleuze´s essay has proved so influential ?

Comments

  1. Post
    Author
  2. Post
    Author
    dschiff

    Is this meta-analysis of analyses of Deleuze just another form of Control that Deleuze spoke of? Or is my asking that question just another form of control? #Youtube #ControlSociety

  3. Post
    Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *