|Log: Rationalization, Surveillance, Consumption
||First consider how it is that the apparatus programs
the subject . . .
|I invite you not to destroy the apparatus or
to attempt to step beyond its reach into some mythical freedom, but to
put it to your own uses. The Truman Show, directed by Peter Weir,concludes
with a step through an exit set into the far horizon of the blue sky of
the globe that housed the apparatus that had restricted the lead character,
played by Jim Carey, since his birth. That step into the beyond is a step
onto the world of the mass audience that had followed
The Show for
more than thirty years, a step into a world not unlike your world, a world
that has been wired for the colonization of your mind. That wiring too
can be understood as an aspect of the apparatus. I am here addressing reasons
that earlier led me to post an out-take from L7’s
Pretend We’re Dead. What I propose is that we learn to negotiate
environments of illusion that surround and mesh with our
bodies and senses of self (subjectivities).
|I am inviting you to increase your knowledge of how the apparatus works
so that you may put it to your own uses. I propose that you lay possession
to three crucial terms for this process: rationalization, surveillance,
consumption. These are keys to what I propose as a post-Marxist understanding
of the global economy.
Rationalization is short
hand for "the rationalization of production" The term is associated with
Frederick Winslow Taylor's Principles
of Scientific Management. Terry Smith in Making
the Modern discusses some of the utopian aspects of rationalization
that were common to the thinking of both Henry Ford and Vladimir Lenin.
in the Net: The Unanticipated Consequences of Computerization,
Gene I. Rochlin points out that scientific management
. . .was more of an ideology than a management system in the modern sense.
crucial for the scientific management of production. In our class discussions
we have used scenes from Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times in order to illustrate
the the ways in which surveillance complements rationalization by monitoring
or setting the pace of production and the interface between man and machine..
We have also noted that surveillance has three effects on the individual
Delinquency may then be thought of as in opposition
to efficiency. Scientific management attempts to manage delinquency by supplying
the worker with incentives. The work of the French philosopher of social
history, Michel Foucault is crucial for understanding the connections between
discipline, surveillance, and delinquency. Here are two links:
It focuses communication in a hierarchical direction,
that is upward from the worker to the boss or monitor.
It discourages communications among equals such as
the co-workers in a plant.
It encourages delinquency.
In class recently we have discussed how the excerpt provided from Marx's
Communist Manifesto, contains, in anticipatory form, a foreshadowing
of the reach of contemporary global capitalism and its thirst for consumption.
The vector that we are now following emphasizes the role of the media in
the production of consumers. To trace this vector adequately you will need
to understand the terms class, ideology, and spectacle as T.J. Clark defines
reading: Language, Realism, and Authenticity