I’m reading Jodi Dean’s Blog Theory. It’s very good. However the vocabulary is frustrating me for the kind of reasons I discussed here. Take this example:
Conceived in terms of drive, networked communications circulate less as potentials for freedom than as the affective intensities produced through and amplifying our capture. (pg 31)
I’m fairly certain I understand what she means by ‘capture’. What I don’t understand is how ‘practices’ can be said to ‘capture’ us. Is there anything more to this concept than the claim that certain ways of using specific technologies will tend to inculcate a peculiar form of passivity that has important ramifications for the possibility of emancipatory politics? We could be said to become trapped, stuck or ensnared by such ‘practices’ but I don’t think we’re captured by them. Capture implies a captor but no such claim is being made. It may seem a pedantic point but this tendency to write as if “things just happen without anyone doing them” (to use Howard Becker’s phrase) really bothers me. It seems to shut down precisely the space of questions which I think critical theory should surely be trying to open up.