The Rise of
The Dividual
With the rise of advertising in the 1920s and later the advent of television, an ever well-organized machine has developed of which Google and Facebook can be considered the crowning achievements. The latter make up immense "databanks" which function as marketing apparatuses. They gather, select, and sell millions of data on our behavior, purchases, reading habits, favorite films, tastes, clothes, and food preferences as well as the way we spend our "free time." The information concerns "dividuals," whose profiles composed of the convergence of data, are mere relays of inputs and outputs in production-consumption machines.

"Dividuals" have a statistical existence controlled by apparatuses whose operations differ from the individualiazation carried out by pastoral power, which is exercised on "real" individuals. The governmentality of dividuals, managed by flows, networks, and machines, not only plays a part in the individual's representations and conscious behavior but in the desires, beliefs, and sub-representational reality of subjectivity. Governmentality is practiced at the junction of the individual and the dividual, the individual as the dividual's subjectivation.

Enslavement does not operate through repression or ideology. It employs modeling and modulating techniques that bear on the "very spirit of life and human activity." It takes over human beings "from the inside," on the pre-personal (pre-cognitive and preverbal) level, as well as "from the outside," on the supra-personal level, by assigning them certain modes of perception and sensibility and manufacturing an unconscious. Machinic enslavement formats the basic functioning of perceptive, sensory, affective, cognitive, and linguistic behavior.

We are thus subject to a dual regime. We are, on the one hand, enslaved to the machinic apparatuses of business, communications, the welfare state, and finance; on the other hand, we are subjected to a stratification of power that assigns us roles and social and productive functions as users, producers, television viewers, and so on.

--- From Capitalism and the
Production of Subjectivity

Maurizio Lazzarato
Joshua David Jordan

©2014 Semiotext(e)
Distributed by MIT Press
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