With vaccine passports going into effect where I live soon, I am once again thinking about the prescience of Deleuze's essay on societies of control.
"The conception of a control mechanism, giving the position of any element within an open environment at any given instant (whether animal in a reserve or human in a corporation, as with an electronic collar), is not necessarily one of science fiction. Felix Guattari has imagined a city where one would be able to leave one’s apartment, one’s street, one’s neighborhood, thanks to one’s (dividual) electronic card that raises a given barrier; but the card could just as easily be rejected on a given day or between certain hours; what counts is not the barrier but the computer that tracks each person’s position—licit or illicit—and effects a universal modulation.
The socio-technological study of the mechanisms of control, grasped at their inception, would have to be categorical and to describe what is already in the process of substitution for the disciplinary sites of enclosure, whose crisis is everywhere proclaimed. It may be that older methods, borrowed from the former societies of sovereignty, will return to the fore, but with the necessary modifications. What counts is that we are at the beginning of something. In the prison system: the attempt to find penalties of “substitution,” at least for petty crimes, and the use of electronic collars that force the convicted person to stay at home during certain hours. For the school system: continuous forms of control, and the effect on the school of perpetual training, the corresponding abandonment of all university research, the introduction of the “corporation” at all levels of schooling. For the hospital system: the new medicine “without doctor or patient” that singles out potential sick people and subjects at risk, which in no way attests to individuation—as they say—but substitutes for the individual or numerical body the code of a “dividual” material to be controlled. In the corporate system: new ways of handling money, profits, and humans that no longer pass through the old factory form" (Gilles Deleuze, "Postscript on the Societies of Control").
Like, this part of the essay always felt the most far-fetched, hokey-science fiction adjacent. But now, this is literally what is happening where I live. There are plans to make it mandatory to show proof of vaccination to access certain services, events, buildings, etc.
I am not anti-vax, but like...this should be concerning to everyone. And if you think this won't affect you negatively just because you've gotten vaccinated, 1.) You should still be concerned about the amount of control this gives the state over your life; and 2.) There will absolutely be instances in which this negatively affects and is enforced against folks who have been vaccinated. Issues are already arising due to uneven standards across the country. My mom is worried that she won't be able to come visit us because the province where she lives does not plan to have vaccine passports, and so she'll have no real way to prove that she's been vaccinated when she tries to travel.
Anyway, this whole thing is fucked and I've been thinking about it a lot lately.
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