From: Andrew Culp <polarbear@xxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 31 May 2010 22:21:33 -0400
Even if Foucault had said a few passing remarks about cybernetics or
computers, I wouldn't really think of him as much more than a passing
He was largely an expert on French enclosure institutions and the social
ensembles they created around verediction practices. Later in life he
worked on Greek, Roman and Christian ethical systems in the broadest sense.
Recent work has taken Foucault's ideas and created methodologies or even
a patchwork of tools (like Deleuze said, to create a 'toolbox'). There
are plenty of Foucault-inspired reflections in science studies that
offer takes on recent technological innovations that would generate
payoffs similar to those found in Foucault's own work. My own
experience is that contemporary analysis on 'new media' that sticks
mainly to Foucault without drawing in other perspectives (marxism,
post-coloniality, etc) can slip into the 'liberal Foucauldianism'
diagnosed in Jeff Nealon's recent book "Foucault Beyond Foucault."
As previously mentioned, either Agamben's writing on dispositif or
Deleuze's work seem more attuned to contemporary technologies.
Deleuze's short essay on Control Societies engages Foucault head-on in
regards to the shift from disciplinary to a power that 'forcefully
grants freedom' like neo-liberalism or web 2.0. No doubt Foucault's
critique of governance v/v liberal market democracy is readily applied
to the new forms of control found in the web, but given the amount of
work one has to do to distill the small body of literature on bio-power
into a usable concept (which is still used in a great variety of
non-congruent, and often even pro-liberal ways), looking to use short
passing remarks might be ill advised.
On a different front, the recent translation of Tiqqun's "Cybernetic
Hypotheses" offer a unique synthesis of Foucault and Deleuze that is
extremely political. This might provide more than adequate ground for a
critical consideration of Web 2.0 -- http://cybernet.jottit.com/
All the best,
Thomas Lord wrote:
Did Foucault write anything about computing,
software, networking, and so forth? His mode
of analysis seems to have a lot of relevance
to today's Internet but I'm wondering what he
might have written directly about such technology.
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