This essay stages an encounter between Michel Foucault’s work—especially his final thought concerning biopolitics, security, and population—and contemporary theorization of media’s experiential impact. The essay argues that the opportunity for such an encounter has been obscured largely due to the role played by Gilles Deleuze (in particular by the concept of “control society”) in filtering Foucault’s work for media theory. The essay develops an approach to Foucault’s late work that centers on the population as a vehicle for rethinking individualization beyond substance; such an approach makes it possible to retain certain aspects of the category of the individual that are simply jettisoned in the contemporary embrace of Deleuze’s “dividual.” The essay concludes by exploring how this rethinking of Foucault’s work on individualization facilitates exploration of the impact of twenty-first-century “atmospheric” media on human individuation.
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Mark B. N. Hansen; Foucault and Media: A Missed Encounter?. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 July 2012; 111 (3): 497–528. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-1596254
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