[SydPhil] [Philosophy at UWS seminar] 17 September - Mark Kelly

Philosophy@UWS Philosophy at uws.edu.au
Fri Sep 5 15:17:17 AEST 2014

Philosophy at UWS presents A Research Seminar with
Mark Kelly<http://www.uws.edu.au/philosophy/philosophy@uws/events/research_seminars_2014/mark_kelly>


DATE/TIME: Wednesday, 17 September, 3.30pm-5.00pm

PLACE: University of Western Sydney, Bankstown Campus, Building 3, Room 3.G.27  [How to get to Bankstown Campus] http://www.uws.edu.au/campuses_structure/cas/campuses/bankstown
All welcome
ABSTRACT: In this paper, I critically assess Gilles Deleuze's 'societies of control' thesis, in relation to both the work of Michel Foucault which inspired it, and the work of which it inspired in turn, including that of Hardt and Negri, and Lazzaratto. I argue, contra Deleuze and his reading of Foucault, that contemporary society continues to be a form of the disciplinary-biopolitical society identified by Foucault as existing already in the nineteenth century. The argument for this is dual. On the one hand, I point to claims by Deleuze that have not been born out by subsequent development, particularly the claim that disciplinary institutions are breaking down: while some institutions have declined, others (particularly the prison) have massively expanded, leaving no clear pattern of decline. On the other hand, I argue that characteristics specifically assigned to societies of control by Deleuze are already part of disciplinary power as conceived by Foucault, noting indeed that Foucault uses the word 'control' as a synonym for discipline.

While acknowledging changes, I thus argue that any transition from Fordism to post-Fordism is at most a modification of disciplinary power, rather than a matter of a new technology of power in a Foucauldian sense. I hence seek to downplay the political importance of this change in favour of a reading of our society as exhibiting continuous tendencies. I conclude by agreeing with commentators who argue that neoliberalism is more accurately characterised as a return to nineteenth century conditions

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Siobhain O'Leary
Administration Coordinator, Philosophy Research Initiative
University of Western Sydney
Bankstown Campus Building 5
Locked Bag 1797
Penrith NSW 2751
+61 2 9772 6190

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