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Premediation, Affect, and the Anticipation of Security

Location: Social Studies SO.21

Professor Richard Grusin Biography          

In this talk I will explore how in our current biopolitical regime of securitization, socially networked media transactions are fostered and encouraged by mobilizing or intensifying pleasurable affects in the production of multiple, overlapping feedback loops among people (individually and collectively) and their media. I will begin by outlining how, at the end of the first decade of the 21st century, social media, like cellphones, instant messaging, Facebook, or YouTube, encourage different historical formations of mediated affect.  This distribution of affectivity across heterogeneous social networks or assemblages is coupled to the framework of securitization, which helps to explain why these particular socially networked media formations have emerged at this particular historical moment.  The talk concludes with a discussion of the political implications of this security regime—what it means for the explosive growth of socially networked media after 9/11 to have as one of its many consequences the proliferation of media transactions or interactions, which help (as Foucault says of governmentality and the state) to “vitalize” the political formation of securitization. If, as I have argued elsewhere, mediality today employs the strategies of premediation to mobilize individual and collective affect in a society of security and control, then we need to look at the ways in which premediation deploys an affectivity of anticipation that functions to vitalize the regime of securitization that has replaced surveillance as the predominant disciplinary formation of our control society.  Our everyday transactions of mediation, transportation, and communication are encouraged for security purposes not only by making them easy and readily available but also by making them affectively pleasurable—or as I discuss later in the talk, at least not unpleasurable, by maintaining low levels of affective intensity that provide a kind of buffer or safe space, a form of security, in relation to an increasingly threatening global media environment.

Please contact Dr Andrew Hoskins if you would like to attend this event.

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