Course description MA Theme Seminar: New Media of Control

Course: MA Theme Seminar: New Media of Control
Instructor: S. Scholz
Period: Semester 2, Block 1
Course catalogue: MA Theme Seminar: New Media of Control

This course aims at delivering students deeper insight into the diverse forms of interconnections between new media technologies/changing uses of new media and the transformation of society in terms of surveillance and control. Students are expected to contribute to theoretical debates on the influence of media developments on a so-called ‘control dispositif’ that exceeds the limits of the panoptic scopic regime. In addition to critical analysis and theoretical debate students will have the opportunity to improve their skills in oral and written presentations.

The course will take Gilles Deleuze’s diagnosis/prediction seriously that our society is involved in a process of transformation from a disciplinary regime to one of control. As an initial premise it will be claimed that media play a decisive role in this process. On the one hand, for example, video surveillance of public spaces extends the realm of visibility in a panoptic sense. Internet, the so-called web 2.0, mobile phones, digital commerce, data tracing and mining etc., on the other hand, do more than that by exceeding questions of visibility and fundamentally transforming society into a society of control and self-control.
Based on this assumption we will discuss the influence new media technologies have on the emergence, development and stabilization of a society of control – and, accordingly, the way society applies specific forms of media to accomplish the goal of regulating social procedures under circumstances of “governementality” (Foucault). Insights in these developments will be provided by analysing theoretical basic principles as well as recent contributions to the field of media and surveillance studies. Furthermore, the students will have the opportunity to reflect on own research perspectives on the strong interactions of specific media technologies and formations of the social.