Postscript On The Societies Of Control

Man is no longer man enclosed but man in debt

According to the text in the 18th 19th century the disciplinary societies were formed, their purpose to initiate organization of vast spaces of enclosure. Each space had its own law and one never ceased to move from one to the other, first the family, then the school, then the barracks, hospital and possibly the prison. (I hope not)

The author states that these spaces are in a generalized crisis as they never cease to stop announcing the necessity of reforms within them. It is a known fact that these spaces have outrun their time and need to make way for their replacement: the societies of control.

The author gave an example of the hospital (an environmental enclosure in crisis), would be replaced by day cares, neighborhood clinics and hospices which would act as spaces of control equal to its predecessor.

The logic behind this is that enclosures act like molds, distinct castings with no change whilst controls are a modulation that change from one point to another. To illustrate this more the author highlights how in the disciplinary societies one had to keep starting over between the different enclosures whilst in the societies of control one is never finished with anything as they were all in metastable state all coexisting in one modulation. Control is short term but continuous and limitless, thus we are no longer bound to long enclosures but to continuous debt.

So the question arises since this text is from 1992, do we currently live in a society of control? If so what was our journey like? Did we resist or adapt? Is it anything like Gilles thought it would be?

My take on it is he was not so far removed in fact Felix Guattari imagination proves prophetic as our current society lives dependent on various forms of continuous control. We are not bound by enclosures but items such as our travel cards, ID and passports dictate a lot on what we can and cannot do. We have not completely abandoned enclosures but we have embraced more control mechanisms in our time.