[NetBehaviour] Control and Subversion in the 21st Century.

info info at furtherfield.org
Fri Feb 25 13:21:33 CET 2011

Control and Subversion in the 21st Century.

Escape Routes: Control and Subversion in the 21st Century, Dimitris 
Papadopoulos, Niamh Stephenson & Vassilis Tsianos. London: Pluto Press, 

"This book is about social transformation; it proposes a processual 
vision of change. We want to move away from thinking about change as 
primarily effected through events. To focus on the role of events is to 
foreground particular moments when a set of material, social and 
imaginary ruptures come together and produce a break in the fl ow of 
history – a new truth. Much of the twentieth century’s political 
thinking casts revolt and revolution as the most central events in 
creating social change. But the (left’s) fixation on events cannot 
nurture the productive energy required to challenge the formation of 
contemporary modes of control in Global North Atlantic societies.

An event is never in the present; it can only be designated as an event 
in retrospect or anticipated as a future possibility. To pin our hopes 
on events is a nominalist move which draws on the masculinist luxury of 
having the power both to name things and to wait about for salvation. 
Because events are never in the present, if we highlight their role in 
social change we do so at the expense of considering the potence of the 
present that is made of people’s everyday practices: the practices 
employed to navigate daily life and to sustain relations, the practices 
which are at the heart of social transformation long before we are able 
to name it as such. This book is about such fugitive occurrences rather 
than the epiphany of events. Social transformation, we argue, is not 
about cultivating faith in the change to come, it is about honing our 
senses so that we can perceive the processes which create change in 
ordinary life. Social transformation is not about reason and belief, it 
is about perception and hope. It is not about the production of 
subjects, but about the making of life. It is not about subjectivity, it 
is about experience.

In the following pages, we look for social change in seemingly 
insignificant occurrences of life: refusing to subscribe to a clichéd 
account of one’s life story; sustaining the capacity to work in insecure 
and highly precarious conditions by developing informal social networks 
on which one can rely; or living as an illegal migrant below the radar 
of surveillance. These everyday experiences are commonly neglected in 
accounts of social and political transformation. This might be partly 
because they neither refer to a grand narrative of social change nor are 
they identifiable elements of broader, unified social movements. 
However, this book presents the argument that such imperceptible moments 
of social life are the starting point of contemporary forces of change.


More information about the NetBehaviour mailing list