Re: [Foucault-L] The Panoptical society: Microsoft plans to monitor groups activities

Andrew Cady wrote:
In Foucault there is already the concept of population (or,
I guess, more precisely, the concept of the concept of population) which
strikes me as much more appropriate to the situation.

Thank you, yes.

A simple example is how the "social networking" sites
relate to advertisers. Straight out of the invention of the
demographic (but chillingly modernized in how it scores

It's not quite the statistical simplification that was the
invention of "the population" at a time when the science
of calculation was soaring but the science of automated
computation lagging behind -- but yes -- I see stuff coming
from that same .. uh.. "line of discourse(?)" too. The
discourses from the advertising industry joined with the
discourses of databases, search, etc.

That is, the
concept of a population and the concept of a userbase are functionally
quite similar from the standpoint of the entity administering the
one or the other--which is one in which panopticism is not an option
(in general). I suppose you could call that standpoint "statistical
administration"; it is quite distinct from panoptic administration, as
in the former, one neglects exceptions and directs attention towards
and attempts to influence masses, generally through an invisibility of
power, while in the latter the entire mechanism is designed to detect
exceptions through visibility of power. (This is just as you said.)

The new thing is the specific-ness with which control be directed
at individuals, even if that control is based on mass population models
that are statistical. A slogan could be "We are each to become our
own demographic-of-one." There's a kind of meta-demographics
from which the taxonomy of the demographies-of-one are semi-automatically

Of course, it's not just all about advertising or slotting that way.
The surveillance isn't only used "statistically". Someone earlier
pointed to the example of job applicants being warned to "Google
themselves" and that's a good example.

(If you haven't encountered "population" in Foucault, "The Birth of
Social Medicine," IIRC, serves exactly to introduce it.)

Is that the only source? I know I've read about it but I don't
remember reading that. Whatever (again: "amateur" -- weak on the
scholarship part).

In any case the Microsoft patent reminds me of this passage from The
Ecstacy of Communication:

Barthes already foresaw this for the car, where the logic of
possession, from the projection inherent in strong subjective
relation is substituted by the logic of driving. No more power,
speed, appropriation phantasies linked to the object itself, but a
potential tactic linked to its use -- mastery, control and command,
optimization of the game of possibilities, which the automobile offers
as a vector, and no longer as a psychological sanctuary -- resulting
in the transformation of the subject himself into a driving computer,
instead of the demiurge drunk with power. The vehicle thus becomes a
bubble, the dashboard a console, and the landscape all around unfolds
as a television screen.

However, one can conceive of a subsequent stage to this one, where
the car is still a performative instrument, the stage at which it
becomes an informing network. That is, the car which speaks to you,
which informs you spontaneously of its general state and yours
(eventually refusing to function if you are not functioning well), the
advising, the deliberating car, a partner in a general negotiation on
life-styles; something (or someone, since at this stage there is no
more difference) to which you are wired, the communication with the
car becoming the fundamental stake, a perpetual text of the presence
of the subject vis-a-vis his objects -- an uninterrupted interface.
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  • Re: [Foucault-L] The Panoptical society: Microsoft plans to monitor groups activities
    • From: Andrew Cady
  • Replies
    [Foucault-L] The Panoptical society: Microsoft plans to monitor groups activities, Flora Sapio
    Re: [Foucault-L] The Panoptical society: Microsoft plans to monitor groups activities, Thomas Lord
    Re: [Foucault-L] The Panoptical society: Microsoft plans to monitor groups activities, Andrew Cady
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