Cities, Security, and Vulnerability Reading Group 08 October 2014, Upstairs Cafe Great North Museum (Hancock) 12:00pm Reading: Gilles Deleuze, Postscript on The Societies of Control What political, social, and environmental problems does urbanisation create, and how do they interact with security discourses and practices? Who and what is abandoned, made vulnerable, or left out by these practices and the debates around them? We are an interdisciplinary reading group that tries to answer these questions and others like them. We meet on a monthly basis for an informal discussion of a reading suggested by members of the group. Previous readings include topics as diverse as disease control, Actor Network Theory, telecommunications, blackouts, police practices, neoliberalism, US military strategy, cinematic representations of cities, and the war on drugs. Discussions generally last around an hour and all are welcome. In our first session we will discuss Gilles Deleuze’s Postscript on The Societies of Control (October, Vol. 59, Winter 1992) available at http://bit.ly/1kcpnW7 In this short essay Deleuze looks to move beyond Michel Foucault’s historical understanding of ‘disciplinary societies’, where power is exercised within discrete institutions, towards the concept of ‘societies of control’: “In the disciplinary societies one was always starting again (from school to the barracks, from the barracks to the factory), while in the societies of control one is never finished with anything–the corporation, the educational system, the armed services being metastable states coexisting in one and the same modulation, like a universal system of deformation.” If you would like to be added to the mailing list for information on future meetings, reading suggestions, or other information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Funny little short film about fare dodging in Paris with a touch of magical realism, a testament to human ingenuity and imagination used to get out of paying those couple of Francs. They’ve introduced barriers on the Metro in Newcastle in the last year and its been interesting watching the different ways people dodge and avoid fares (including the infamous Checkywatch– some of whose suggestions are similar to those in Moullet’s film); there’s a been a lot of high-profile cases like that of a hedge-fund manager who dodged £42k in fares, and rightly so, but very little about everyday ways people get by paying their 2/3 pounds for the trip, and why they do so. Figures in the UK now suggest that some people end up spending the first hour of their day working to pay off the trip to work, so there’s a lot of motivation to jump the barrier, and in Sweden groups like planka.nu have been active in promoting fare dodging and supporting people who are taken to court. I don’t think anyone has written a history of transport fares and fare dodging globally and how they’ve reshaped cities, technology and laws, but I’d love to read it.
A friend just made me aware of “Silvering Up”, an excellent short documentary from the 1990s following a team of pylon painters around Kent. Dangerous, and literally precarious, work at 200ft in the air with no harnesses, corrosive paint and the risk of electric shock, it gives a great little insight into the work (and lives) that go into maintaining infrastructures.