Control Societies & Platform Logic
ABSTRACT: Deleuze’s concept of the control society presciently sketches a world of power as ‘universal modulation’. This article investigates the applicability of this understanding of control to today’s socio-technical systems. It examines Deleuze’s control society through the philosophy of cybernetics, situating a restrictive interpretation with reference to Norbert Weiner’s theory of control systems in animals and machines. We argue that in maintaining a concept of control-as-homeostatic feedback modulation, cybernetic readings tend to ignore the constructive, enabling dimension of control. To remedy this, we analyse a recent concept developed in the field of business studies of information technology: the platform. Extrapolating beyond the existing literature of platform design, we develop a generalised theory of the platform as an alternative model of control, through the concept of generative entrenchment.
KEYWORDS: Deleuze, Control Society, Cybernetics, Complexity, Wiener, Platforms, Wimsatt, Generative Entrenchment.