Society of Control


Giles Deleuze talks about the Society of Control…

Society is changing. In fact, society is always changing. From generation to generation, the alterations may sometimes seem slight. At other times, the variations may seem quite pronounced, almost severe enough to register as intra-cultural shock to older members of the plurality.

As we transition from disciplinary society–with a concentration on regular exclusive, enclosed spaces–into the society of control–with free floating, ultra-rapid inclusive webs of regulation–we will see the old institutions adopt new strategies to meet the new demands of being-singular-plural.

Of most interest in this process is coming to understand how personhood (singularity) is just as open to interpretation & evolution as any other human structure.

Now in disciplinary societies, the singular was cast as the individual. The individual is a modern concept that locates personhood as social atom. The literal Latin translation of Greek ATOM is INDIVIDUUM. This social-atom when gathered into an aggregate is called a MASS, and this word also has its links back to modern physics.

In grasping that disciplinary enclosures are structured as masses of social atoms working according to the rules of elective-affinity to establish a given field of action, we can contrast the modern person with the pre-modern subject and the post-modern singularity. The singular before modernity is thought of as some part or organ of a greater body. This is why Thomas Hobbes vision of the body-politic is caught between the pre-modern and modern notion. We see the Leviathan as a great body but it is made up of social-atoms.

The singular after modernity is an always divisible nexus of interconnections constantly routing and rerouting through banks of information. As Deleuze elucidates it in the link above, it is the dividual in connection with the bank. [I prefer to think of the avatar in connection to the network]

Historic Structure Singularity Plurality
Society of Sovereignty Organ Body
Society of Discipline Individual Mass
Society of Control Dividual (avatar[consumer?]) Bank (network)
A good example of the dynamics of this change can be found in the drive by our  information-science folk to create open-source publishing:
Also, the desire of entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook to keep bringing ever more tailored technoscience to the fingertips of the AlterModern dividual, or consumer:
A fellow blogger posts some interesting comments on this notion as well:
Also, we see it in the very notion of “cloud computing”…

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