The Prison House of the Circuit

Politics of Control from Analog to Digital

2022
Authors:

Jeremy Packer, Paula Nuñez de Villavicencio, Alexander Monea, Kathleen Oswald, Kate Maddalena, and Joshua Reeves

Has society ceded its self-governance to technogovernance?

Through the conceptual vocabulary of the circuit, The Prison House of the Circuit presents a history of digital media as well as a provocative model for thinking about governance and media. The authors ultimately demonstrate how contemporary media came to be mechanisms that create frictionless circulation to maximize control, efficacy, and state power.

The Prison House of the Circuit presents a history of digital media using circuits and circuitry to understand how power operates in the contemporary era. Through the conceptual vocabulary of the circuit, it offers a provocative model for thinking about governance and media.

The authors, writing as a collective, provide a model for collective research and a genealogical framework that interrogates the rise of digital society through the lens of Foucault’s ideas of governance, circulation, and power. The book includes five in-depth case studies investigating the transition from analog media to electronic and digital forms: military telegraphy and human–machine incorporation, the establishment of national electronic biopolitical governance in World War I, media as the means of extending spatial and temporal policing, automobility as the mechanism uniting mobility and media, and visual augmentation from Middle Ages spectacles to digital heads-up displays. The Prison House of the Circuit ultimately demonstrates how contemporary media came to create frictionless circulation to maximize control, efficacy, and state power.

Jeremy Packer is professor in the Institute for Communication, Culture, Information, and Technology at the University of Toronto.

Paula Nuñez de Villavicencio is a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto.

Alexander Monea is assistant professor of English and cultural studies at George Mason University.

Kathleen Oswald is adjunct faculty in the Department of Communication at Villanova University.

Kate Maddalena is assistant professor in the Institute for Communication, Culture, Information, and Technology at the University of Toronto.

Joshua Reeves is associate professor in the School of Communication and Media at Oregon State University.

About This Book