control society


control society
  ---- by John Marks
  Deleuze develops his notion of the 'control society' at the beginning of the 1990s. In the 1970s Michel Foucault showed how, during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a disciplinary society had developed that was based on strategies of confinement. As Deleuze points out, Foucault carried out this historical work in order to show what we had inherited of the disciplinary model, and not simply in order to claim that contemporary society is disciplinary. This is the sense of the actual in Foucault's work, in the sense of what we are in the process of differing from. Deleuze uses Foucault's insights as a starting point to claim that we are moving towards control societies in which confinement is no longer the main strategy.
  Deleuze reminds us that disciplinary societies succeeded 'sovereign' societies, and that they concentrated on the organisation of life and production rather than the exercise of arbitrary entitlements in relation to these two domains. Disciplinary societies developed a network of sites and institutions - prisons, hospitals, factories, schools, the family - within which individuals were located, trained and/or punished at various times in their life. In this way, the figure of the 'population' emerges as an observable, measurable object, which is susceptible to various forms of manipulation. Essentially, the disciplinary system is one of contiguity: the individual moves from site to site, beginning again each time. In contrast to this, societies of control - which emerge particularly after World War II - are continuous in form. The various forms of control constitute a network of inseparable variations. The individual, in a disciplinary society, is placed in various 'moulds' at different times, whereas the individual in a contemporary control society is in a constant state of modulation. Deleuze uses as an example the world of work and production. The factory functioned according to some sort of equilibrium between the highest possible production and the lowest possible wages. Just as the worker was a component in a regulated system of mass production, so unions could mobilise mass resistance. In control societies, on the other hand, the dominant model is that of the business, in which it is more frequently the task of the individual to engage in forms of competition and continuing education in order to attain a certain level of salary. There is a deeper level of modulation, a constant variation, in the wages paid to workers. In general terms, the duality of mass and individual is being broken down. The individual is becoming a 'dividual', whilst the mass is reconfigured in terms of data, samples and markets. Whereas disciplinary individuals produced quantifiable and discrete amounts of energy, 'dividuals' are caught up in a process of constant modulation. In the case of medicine, which claims to be moving towards a system 'without doctors or patients', this means that the figure in the individual is replaced by a dividual segment of coded matter to be controlled.
  Although he is in no way suggesting that we should return to disciplinary institutions, Deleuze clearly finds the prospect of the new control society alarming. In the domains of prison, education, hospitals and business, the old institutions are breaking down and, although these changes may be presented as being more closely tailored to the needs of individuals, Deleuze sees little more than a new system of domination. It may even be the case, he suggests, that we may come to view the harsh confinements of disciplinary societies with some nostalgia. One reason for this is obviously that techniques of control threaten to be isolating and individualising. We may regret the loss of previous solidarities. Another reason would be that we are constantly coerced into forms of 'communication'. This means that we are denied the privilege of having nothing to say, of cultivating the particular kind of creative solitude that Deleuze values. It appears that we will increasingly lack a space for creative 'resistance'. He suggests that the move towards continuous assessment in schools is being extended to society in general, with the effect that much of life takes on the texture of the gameshow or the marketing seminar.
  The critique of contemporary societies that the notion of control society entails might in some ways be unexpected in Deleuze's work, given that it sometimes looks like a conventional defence of the individual threatened by the alienating forces of global capitalism. One might expect Deleuze to be in favour of a move towards societies which do away with the constraints of individuality. However, it is the precise way in which control societies dismantle the individual that alarms Deleuze. Rather than encouraging a real social engagement with the pre-personal, they turn the individual into an object that has no resistance, no capacity to 'fold' the line of modulation. Although the Body without Organs lacks the discreteness of what we conventionally know as an individual that is not to say it does not have resistance. On the contrary, it is a zone of intensity. It may be traversed by forces, but it is not simply a relay for those forces.
  Connectives
   § fold
   § intensity

The Deleuze dictionary. . 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • control society —    by John Marks   Deleuze develops his notion of the control society at the beginning of the 1990s. In the 1970s Michel Foucault showed how, during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a disciplinary society had developed that was based on… …   The Deleuze dictionary

  • control society + state theory —    by Kenneth Surin   In his short but prescient essay Postscript on Control Societies Deleuze says that in the age of the societies of control (as opposed to the disciplinary societies of the previous epoch famously analysed by Michel Foucault) …   The Deleuze dictionary

  • control society + state theory —    by Kenneth Surin   In his short but prescient essay Postscript on Control Societies Deleuze says that in the age of the societies of control (as opposed to the disciplinary societies of the previous epoch famously analysed by Michel Foucault) …   The Deleuze dictionary

  • American Production and Inventory Control Society — APICS The Association for Operations Management, is a not for profit international education organization, offering certification programs, training tools and networking opportunities to increase workplace performance. It was founded in 1957 as… …   Wikipedia

  • Society of Merchant Venturers — Motto Indocilis Pauperiem Pati Formation 13th century Type Private Headquarters …   Wikipedia

  • Society for Creative Anachronism — Type 501(c)(3) non profit corporation Founded 1966 Area served Worldwide F …   Wikipedia

  • Control Room (film) — Control Room Theatrical release poster Directed by Jehane Noujaim Produced by …   Wikipedia

  • Society of the Cincinnati — Motto Omnia reliquit servare rempublicam[1] Formation May 13, 1783 …   Wikipedia

  • Society of Saint Vincent de Paul —     Society of Saint Vincent de Paul     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Society of Saint Vincent de Paul     An international association of Catholic laymen engaging systematically in personal service of the poor; was founded in May, 1833, when eight… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Control chart — One of the Seven Basic Tools of Quality First described by Walter A. Shewhart …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.