A critical history of logistics: digitised life as a logistical operation
University of Brighton College of Arts and Humanities
Year of enrolment: 2015 -
Supervisor: Dr Mark Devenney
This research aims to undertake a critical theoretical history of logistics, from its concpetion in the military through to industrial and commercial uses, to the present moment in which individuals live more and more of their lives through modes that allow for the production, collection and analysis of data. I draw upon theories of power developed from Foucault and Deleuze to show the ways in which in an increasingly digitized society, the distinctions between life, logistics and military are rendered indeterminate, and further, the ways in which processes of subjectivation are undermined and hence depoliticised. The increasing tendency toward the translation of life into data in late capitalist society serves to eradicate distinctions between individual, consumer and producer, and, ultimately, between military and non-military modes of organisation. The research will outline current and projected developments in technnology, including the stat of surveillance, 'ambient intelligence' , and movements toward a political program of algorithmic regulation in order to draw together a logistical theory of societal organisation. Drawing on previous research, this project will make use of theories of power from Foucault (2004), Deleuze (1992) and Thacker and Galloway (2007), as well as develop the notion of the (in)dividual, at once both embodied subject and digital entity. The research will be interdisciplinary in nature, combining social, critical and philosophical theory with informatics, data science and history.