Studies in Control Societies, Volume 1
Issue 1: Periodizing Control, Spring 2016
This essay reads Gilles Deleuze’s “Postscript on Control Societies” (1990) both as a work of periodization theory and as a theory of periodization. Focusing on the intersections Deleuze locates between governmentality, technology, and economics, the essay suggests that the “Postscript” sketches a methodology for interrogating the relationship between systems of organization and accumulation and the shifting logics of occlusion and suspension that undergird them.
Since at least the arrival of 3D graphical displays in the mid-1990s, video games have employed visual perspective to make the flat computer screen appear to be a deep and immersive game world. This essay delineates the three major perspectival modes present in video games today—the first-person, the third-person, and the strategy mode—in order to identify the way in which they make certain political structures operable within the game’s architecture. While periodization is typically elaborated by the historian, sociologist or cultural theorist, here we find a form of periodization internal to the perceptual architecture of contemporary digital media. Such a periodization, this essay argues, is central to the classificatory tools by which subjects and non-subjects are marked out within the societies of control.
This review frames Simone Browne’s essential text for the study of racializing surveillance as a work of counter-periodization. Browne’s situating of blackness in relation to the historical development of surveillance helps to center the continuities between earlier modes of monitoring, overseeing, and policing subjects and newer modes of surveillance. Weinberg also details the implications of Browne’s text for future studies of surveillance and for modes of resistance against its logics.
Issue 2, Fall 2016
In “Surveillance Aesthetics and Theatre against ‘Empire,'” Peter Eckersall explains:
The surveillance aesthetic comes into being when we begin to see and experience our world though the ever present chimera of surveillance. It is part of a new spatial and cultural formation; one that watches and listens, compares, and directs. It constructs systems and hierarchies as organising principals to determine the ways that we might see and relate to the world around us. (Eckersall 2003)
In the second issue of SCS, we have featured the work of Tra Bouscaren, a post-disciplinary artist, researcher, educator and occasional curator who takes surveillance aesthetics, re-maps and re-projects its spatial and cultural formations, and produces work that simultaneously implicates and emancipates the viewer captured by regimes of surveillance.
Michael Kimaid provides a stunningly thorough review of of Yi-Fu Tuan’s 2013 reissue of Landscapes of Fear, a text that grapples with cultural, social, and historical understandings of fear and their relationships to power, control, and geography.