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