Thesis Troubles #1: Redux

Looks like I have to read up on another thinker, Pierre Lévy (these two books). Massumi makes a brief reference to a book of his in Parables of the Virtual (p.71) in the football (soccer) section in the chapter about the political economy of belonging: “collective individuation around a catalyzing point.”

Here is a short essay on his ideas (Google cache). The author of that paper seems stuck on the idea that there is something wrong with Lévy’s thinking because he discusses the formalized conditions of the game of football (soccer). (Perhaps he should read some Paul Corrigan!) Anyway it is exciting that he writes:

Lévy asks how we can pass from a group mentality characterized by a modern notion of the mass (and with that, mass broadcasting) to a collective intelligence wherein persons may remain individual and singular. In order to illustrate this problem, Lévy goes to the work of Michel Serres and his analysis of objects and group formations in the soccer match. Throughout this section Lévy is attempting to distance his reading of collective thought in the age of global electronic networks from those classical modernist readings of community which base community in social bonds built around sacrifice and exclusion (in the manner of René Girard’s analysis) or around such bonds characterized by identification and a transcendental relation to law (as in Freudian psychoanalysis). Within a late modernist framework, Lévy must do this in order to avoid linking electronic communities to fascist or proto-fascist forms of organization and in order to promote the new networks as counter-forces to modernist fascism. 

I raised similar issues here; where I write:

“There seems to be two levels of recognition operating. One defines a group under a singular term, which normally imposed by the ‘outside’. The other level belongs to the individual and the collective of individuals, the mass.” 

My solution to this problem is to use the concepts of the ‘scene’ for the enthusiast’s sense of belonging (not identity) and ‘market’ for the cultural industry’s reconfiguration of the same elements. Both the ‘scene’ and the ‘market’ are particular condensations or representations of the ‘totality’ of the respective assemblage. It is not so much a totality, although it is ‘actioned’ as such, but a selection of those elements that are relevant. A third perspective can be found in the governmental perspective.

Anyway, regarding the section of my thesis chapter I am now going to separate the set of ideas laid out here into two sections:

1) The catalysing potentialisation (territorialisation) of a heterogeneous set of elements, their arrangement into assemblages organised around the ‘world-glue’ of affect, and the becoming(-together) triggered in such an assemblage. The various scales of this assemblage constitutes the ‘scene’ of the activity/enthusiasm in question. The ‘scene’ is an affective mapping and a spatial territorialisation. It is the enthusiast’s representation of the assemblage as a ‘totality’.

2) The intervention into this assemblage of commodified media representations that align flows in certain ways that produces a consistency across the affective relations of the assemblage. The media representations potentialise certain objects, practices and events over others. This selective potentialisation produces a modulation of the affective relations that hold the assemblage together. The modulation in affective relations triggers variations in the assemblage to the benefit and maintenance of particular arrangements in the cultural economy. These particular arrangements of the cultural economy in question can be called ‘markets’. The market is the cultural industry’s representation of a given assemblage. (One of the problem’s with Adorno’s cultural industry stuff is that he does not imagine more than one market, and what the existence of a plurality of markets does, i.e. resonance, dissonance, etc.)

I need to read Levy but from what I can figure out he is going to be useful in the first of the above sections, and maybe the second. He writes about the internet and collective intelligences, etc. My stuff is about (pre-internet) collectivities, but which are quasi-fascist in their organisation. The problem is that the democratisation is premised on, and privileges, a technological participation. There are certain thresholds that need to be crossed. However, from what I have witnessed, this is not so different to contemporary ‘info-tech’ or ‘cybercultures’ that Levy is discussing…

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