cover of book

The Prison House of the Circuit: Politics of Control from Analog to Digital
by Jeremy Packer, Paula Nuñez de Villavicencio, Alexander Monea, Kathleen Oswald, Kate Maddalena and Joshua Reeves
University of Minnesota Press, 2023
Cloth: 978-1-5179-1416-5 | eISBN: 978-1-4529-6848-3 | Paper: 978-1-5179-1417-2
Library of Congress Classification HM851
Dewey Decimal Classification 302.30285


Has society ceded its self-governance to technogovernance?

The Prison House of the Circuit presents a history of digital media using circuits and circuitry to understand how power operates in the contemporary era. Through the conceptual vocabulary of the circuit, it offers a provocative model for thinking about governance and media.

The authors, writing as a collective, provide a model for collective research and a genealogical framework that interrogates the rise of digital society through the lens of Foucault’s ideas of governance, circulation, and power. The book includes five in-depth case studies investigating the transition from analog media to electronic and digital forms: military telegraphy and human–machine incorporation, the establishment of national electronic biopolitical governance in World War I, media as the means of extending spatial and temporal policing, automobility as the mechanism uniting mobility and media, and visual augmentation from Middle Ages spectacles to digital heads-up displays. The Prison House of the Circuit ultimately demonstrates how contemporary media came to create frictionless circulation to maximize control, efficacy, and state power.

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