Thursday, February 18, 2010

Dissecting Deleuze

According to Gilles Deleuze, disciplinary societies “initiate the organization of vast spaces of enclosure,” meaning that when one passes through various establishments – schools, hospitals, factories, etc. – one is subject to the individual and distinct laws or modes of operation within that governing institution. Deleuze argues that Foucault has accurately identified the goals and motives behind the organization of society into spaces of enclosure. Foucault has suggested in previous analytical studies that this model – disciplinary societies – might be replaced by that of societies of control. Deleuze attempts to illustrate what this environment might look like, and how it might differ from its antecedent. While the spaces of enclosure are discrete and “distinct,” the controls are fluid, flexible, and versatile. The latter enforces one, all encompassing, pervasive system, an orbit that never ceases to complete its circuit; we are in a constant state of limbo. Everything in life is postponed, deferred, acquitted.

How does this relate to technology? The Internet? Control societies, according to Deleuze, “operate with machines of a third type, computers.” Before this invention, the central hub or heart of institutional command was easy to locate. Nowadays, with the rise of digital media and electronic communications, power is neither visible nor stable; it no longer permanently resides in spaces of enclosure, but rather moves about freely in a global distributed computer network – one that is independent and individual.

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