Societies of Control

Anne Galloway at PLSJ on Deleuze:

Deleuze got it right: we no longer live in Foucault's disciplinary society; we live in societies of control.

"In the societies of control … what is important is no longer either a signature or a number, but a code… The numerical language of control is made of codes that mark access to information, or reject it. We no longer find ourselves dealing with the mass/individual pair. Individuals have become 'dividuals,' and masses, samples, data, markets, or 'banks' … The disciplinary man was a discontinuous producer of energy, but the man of control is undulatory, in orbit, in a continuous network … Man is no longer man enclosed, but man in debt…"

… What we are all embroiled in is a network in the Deleuzian sense. We are not dealing with enclosed spaces where someone is responsible; we're dealing with a fluid space where no one is accountable. … The network encourages a constant state of movement, continuously avoiding being bound and continually passing responsibility to the next module.

This type of control is particularly insidious because there is no panopticon. Control is diffuse and we can't locate - or fix - responsibility and accountability long enough to affect change. And it's particularly dangerous because it allows each of us to play the victim of an imaginary structure.

What a fabulous essay! Thanks Anne! I think this frames what I hope to do with my project in sport rather nicely.

Deleuze: "Everywhere surfing has already replaced the older sports."


Comments are closed.