[-empyre-] the netopticon
marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Tue Jan 11 23:19:16 EST 2011
Hello Johannes & all,
First I would like to make clear (even though everyone probably knows
this) that, neoliberlism is now an intrinsic part of the shift and creep
of the panoptican, as well as what (Shoshan) suggests as "Netopticon", a
socially networked Panoptic apparatus, as mentioned by Simon in his
One of the most clearest definitions I have read on neoliberalism so
far, is by Pierre Bourdieu.
"And yet the world is there, with the immediately visible effects of the
implementation of the great neoliberal utopia: not only the poverty of
an increasingly large segment of the most economically advanced
societies, the extraordinary growth in income differences, the
progressive disappearance of autonomous universes of cultural
production, such as film, publishing, etc. through the intrusive
imposition of commercial values, but also and above all two major
trends. First is the destruction of all the collective institutions
capable of counteracting the effects of the infernal machine, primarily
those of the state, repository of all of the universal values associated
with the idea of the public realm. Second is the imposition everywhere,
in the upper spheres of the economy and the state as at the heart of
corporations, of that sort of moral Darwinism that, with the cult of the
winner, schooled in higher mathematics and bungee jumping, institutes
the struggle of all against all and cynicism as the norm of all action
and behaviour." The essence of neoliberalism. UTOPIA OF ENDLESS
EXPLOITATION. Pierre Bourdieu.
Combining this with Foucault's comments from Discipline and Punish
"...'Discipline' may be identified neither with an institution nor with
an apparatus; it is a type of power, a modality for its exercise,
comprising a whole set of instruments, techniques, procedures, levels of
application, targets; it is a 'physics' or an 'anatomy' of power, a
The structures in place, show us that there is a mixture of engineered
composites, and they have been entwined within our individual states or
nations for a long time. Yet, because of the various ingredients already
in place and the behaviours around managerial functionalities, producing
and supporting these mechanised processes, whether consciously or not;
we are left with a networked administration that sits seperate of
governments and even some smaller businesses, but at the same time it is
an international non-regulated tool, which can bring about powerful
shifts and changes in everyday life, through systems connecting to
surveillance and the Netopticon. A rather complex mix of objects, agents
and networks exploiting and connecting via functional means with mediums
such as digital networks, social media and the Internet across the board.
A form of meta-power that only respects itself and the languages and
facilities which abide and respect its functions. The ingredients that
contribute to this are (I am sure there are more), as Foucault says
'discipline', as Christina astutely mentions 'efficiency' and the ever
expansive networked lurker in the background, watching us all 'the all
seeing eye', with data collection and active and general digital
"Technology is becoming more advanced and the administration of this
technology is becoming more sophisticated and soon, every car in the
street will be considered and treated as persons, with human rights.
This is not a conspiracy to enslave human beings, it is a result of
having to develop usable administration systems for complex
relationships. Slaves were not liberated because their owners felt sorry
for them, slaves were given more rights as a way to manage them more
productively in a more technologically advanced society." Heath Bunting.
>From an interview - The Status Project: Data-Mining Our Identities.
It is also interesting that you mention PCSO Watch's statement "We are
all Police now". In light of the recent and outragous US demands that
Twitter hand over data on Wikileaks and multiple Wikileaks supporters.
"Mr Assange condemned the court order on Saturday, saying it amounted to
This tactic of scaring everyday people not to support Wikileaks, is not
a new approach. In fact, the UK used similar attacks on the unemployed,
by asking anyone who suspects that someone is 'working on the side' as
well as receiving unemployment benefits, should inform the authorities.
This tactic of harassment and exploiting the public's situation, of
being connected with others; grass root groups and individuals, helps in
creating divides, confusion and fear between them. This is where a
reference to Foucault's 'Discipline and Punish' is worth considering, an
exercise of power "...is not conceived as property, but as a strategy;
its effects of domination are attributed not to 'appropriation,' but to
dispositions, maneuvers, tactics, techniques, functionings..."
Wishing you well.
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