[UPDATE] To Periodize Or Not To Periodize, That Is the Question
~Studies In Control Societies is excited to announce that Dr. Seb Franklin will be contributing to the issue.~
In the Introduction to Seb Franklin's text, Control, Franklin argues that many periodization texts are:
thorough enough when it comes to describing the characteristics of certain practices of production and distribution, making neat and tidy distinctions between distinctive technological paradigms, observing new organizations of labor time, or tracing the changing dynamics of family life (at least, they are thorough enough when it comes to the Global North). But achieving this rigorous definition of the present and its distinction from the past comes at a cost. Asserting the radical difference between present and past without examining the contingency of the conceptual frameworks, spatial diagrams, and metaphors one uses in order to do so risks obscuring those shifts in the conditions of knowledge that are required for diffuse groups of individuals, institutions, and systems to desire, conceptualize, and enact such differences in the crucible of history. (Franklin 2015)
Studies in Control Societies invites a consideration of whether periodizing the shifts between disciplinary and control societies, fordism and post-Fordism, or other transformations in state power, political economy, or the creation of contemporary information technologies is a useful conceptual framework for understanding the present. Periodization may be useful in that it clearly demarcates precisely what is "new" about new media technologies, ubiquitous online surveillance, and transformations in work, leisure, politics, and policy. However, as Franklin suggests, periodization may also mystify the contingencies between previous modes of production, technologies of discipline and control, and relations of power that have continuously underwritten the ability of state and market actors to shape social reality to their benefit.
We also welcome reviews of texts published within the last 5 years that engage with the question of periodization including (but not limited to) Seb Franklin's Control, Simone Brown's Dark Matters: The Surveillance of Blackness, and Joseph Pugliese's Biometrics: Bodies, Technologies, Biopolitics.
Please send articles of 2,500-8,000 words or book reviews of 2,000-5,000 words to email@example.com no later than February 1st in order to be considered for publication. Please see the Guidelines for Submissions available at
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Seb Franklin, Control: Digitality as Cultural Logic (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2015), xvi.