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Gilles Deleuze's Postscript on the Societies of Control - Essay Example

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Gilles Deleuze's Postscript on the Societies of Control

The authority announces various ongoing crises that need to be bring about reform within the space being considered. The individual needs to accept these mechanisms of change and the rules that go along with them. The fact that each individual passes through the systems as an independent variable that starts from zero only increases their control over the individual. It produces them even more as subject.
While society is now more complex, and many people's lives are less obviously controlled than they used to be, Deleuze argues that the same systems are in fact in place. Thus while Nineteenth century people were controlled by machines such as clocks and pulleys, people are now controlled by computers in a more subtle and yet almost more pernicious manner. The easily identifiable "spaces" of school, factory, army that once existed have now been transformed into what Deleuze calls an "open circuit".
This open circuit produces "coded figures" that are "deformable and transformable" - through entities such as the corporation individuals are rendered subjects wherever they go. They are controlled by the debts that they owe to these corporations rather than the physical walls of the factories that most people no longer work in.
Control is no longer direct and obvious but rather indirect and diffused. As Deleuze puts it, with a hint of humorous irony, "we are taught that corporations have a soul, which is the most terrifying news in the world." It is terrifying because it shows that corporations have taken on a mystical place within society, and their power spreads like a virus through every one of its institutions.
The individual cannot avoid being a subject if he/she chooses to have any contact at all within this society. Before there was a way of countering the control, of even rebelling against the raw control represented by the factor clock or the prison walls; but now the clock is found within the invisible, constantly running time of a computer and the walls have gone to be replaced by the diffused power of the modern world.
Deleuze finally argues that the "control environment" of science fiction actually already exists, through the "human in a corporation, as with an electronic collar". This is an example of "the progressive and dispersed installation of a new system of domination." It is so powerful in defining the subject because it is so difficult to actual define and locate in and of itself. In the past a worker could walk out of a factory and, if he so chose, not return. The worker may leave his work today, but that would only be a way of transferring the sphere of power over him from one to another.
Ultimately, Deleuze suggests that the modern form of control is like "the coils of a serpent", and these are much more complex than the "burrows of a molehill" that people once existed within. Thus the old industrial societies defined people as subject through a very obvious system that, while powerful, could be broken because it was so obvious. To stretch his metaphor, one only had to stick one's nose out of the molehill to see that there was a different world waiting upon our escape. But the coils of the serpent are everywhere, diffuse and yet omnipresent. Individuals may feel that they can define themselves as subject because ...Show more

Summary

Read Gilles Deleuze's "Postscript on the Societies of Control" and discuss what the primary issue for Deleuze appeared to be in it. In other words, according to Deleuze, how do we get produced as subjects and how are subjects (re)produced
Deleuze is concerned with how individuals are turned into subjects through an examination of the various enclosed spaces that Foucault identified in his work…
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Gilles Deleuzes Postscript on the Societies of Control essay example
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