There should be a catchy phrase for this phenomenon. It’s important to understand in its own terms but contrasting emphasis on each pole tend to divert scholarly debates into tedious dichotomies that obscure the underlying reality. From loc 3411 of The Data Revolution by Rob Kitchin:
Often seemingly opposing outcomes are bound together so that people can be both liberated and coerced simultaneously –they gain personal benefit at the same time as they become enmeshed in a system that seeks to gain from their participation. In Althusser’s (1971) terms, such an arrangement works through interpellation, ensnaring people in its logic through persuasion and incentives. For example, supermarket loyalty cards provide customers with savings at the same time as they work to produce store loyalty and provide a rich seam of data that are used to try and sell more goods to those customers, thus increasing profits. Similarly, the price of being more secure from terrorist attacks is invasive surveillance of all members of society; citizens gain safety at the price of privacy.
2 responses to “Liberation and coercion”
Doesn’t Bauman call it ‘ambivalence’?
I think he meant it more subjectively than this but I haven’t read the book in 10 years so not sure