Societies of Control

Submitted by admin on Fri, 2006-06-23 09:41.

This topic will be treated in the decentralised gathering in Lyon.

Social Control and Security Policies

Social control is quite complex as it strikes at many different levels in society. Control is mainly used by institutions (such as national education, families, work, jails, police, or work agencies) for enhanced monitoring, harsher punishment and education so that individuals may know "good manners" and behave themselves to become one day "honest citizens". Those institutions have many tools for repression (justice), stabilization (with any kind of mediation, space planning...), brainwashing (TV), monitoring (electronic surveillance, microchips). They aim at maintaining people passive. Every impulse of anger must be repressed. When anger is individual, the victim is locked into a psychiatric clinic, when it's collective - in case of social movements for example - people are gassed by riot police. Our lives are so controlled, we wonder which strategy would be the most effective: should we skip social normalization, or should we rather destroy it?

We are eager to discuss the issue of different security policies in August. It is important for us to define and understand where the problem lies, and to find all together what we can do to work the system to our advantage, or to destroy it.

And this is not that easy- there are many different balances of power, many different contexts according to the organization, the different parts people involved play, notwithstanding the strategies they try to implement... all that stuff must be taken into account. That's why State can not be regarded as the only responsible for social control; things are not so simple. This is a Manichean approach which focuses on a system considered as a whole. Such consideration leads to thinking that the system is extern, which is wrong, we are parts of it, we've grown up into it and we have even complied with its norms, when gender-oriented attitudes, sexism, racism, our relationship with our body, social heritage come into play.

Here follows a list of suggestions for the discussions to come (feel free to add some!)

  • The different technologies used by the state for better monitoring and control. (Biometry: the body as a way of individualization and control / Normalizations through moves and bodies)
  • The new forms of urban architectures for a better management of human movements (public places more and more clean, stainless, with no life possible, only meant for people to come and go)
  • Psycho-pharmaceutics as a tool for normalization, and pacification. (Psychiatric clinics, the last report issued by INSERM - the National Institute for Health and Medical Research - on children with hyperactivity disorder...)
  • The Medias and their propagandas on security (threats, insecurity sentiment, some Sarkozy's laws...)
  • Institutions and normalization (dropping out from the regular school system, destroying prisons...)