Michel de Certeau on subversion.

technology has quickly become a thing of necessity and not of luxury anymore. I was slightly born in the time where hand written letters was the norm of communicating with a distance relative. I remember having to write to my grand mum regularly when I was about 8, a time when I could hardly spell and my handwriting was awful (still is) but this still meant a lot to her because I wrote it with little assistance. my point is in this new era, I don’t have to write anymore, instead, I type. imagining a world without internet is almost like imagining a piece of stitched clothing without the necessary threads to hold it together. technology, the internet has become a thing of necessity rather than luxury, a thing of necessity rather than a want, something one needs rather than something a spoilt child wants. However what happens when certain people or systems try to control, censor or restrict its use.


Martyn Lee (1993) (yes! that’s my lecturer) predicted the development of technology as follows; firstly, the liberation of technology i.e. the development of technology to become more mobile and relatively easier to use for instance, the preference of mobile phones to landline phones. secondly, the temporal compression of commodities i.e. technology which speeds up lengthy processes for instance, the microwave is used over the stove in this time, as regards to communication, email has overtaken letter writing and instant messaging has overtaken email. thirdly,miniaturisation of commodities which speaks for itself as commodities getting smaller for instance, the use of CD has diminished over the years because of portable music players such as the iPod, it now there is a new development, Spotify, an internet controlled app where all your music can be stored. fourthly, compound commodities, its amazing how what used to be just a telephone can now be used as a mini laptop because of all the different functions it can now carry out and the last but not the least, continuous exchange and experimental commodities which s the shift to immaterial commodities such as online subscriptions. I find it amazing how a piece of technology everyone depended such as say the home stereo can die out easily because of the innovation of new technology which in this instance will be an iPod. Michel de certeau stated that this sorta change in technology  can change everyday lives and relationship.

to be honest, if I was to pick an option of how a distant relative was to message me I’ll prefer s/he wrote a letter by him/herself, I feel like you can feel them more closer reading their handwriting. I once heard that phones and the internet are designed to keep people away from each other, i have reason to believe this because De Certeau is right, technology does change lives and relationship too drastically. however we should bo just focus on the negative on hindering relationship but it can also change lives positively as we can see with the case of the Egypt campaign and other campaigns to save a dying member of society etc.

De Certeau explained the practice of everyday lives using two key words; ‘strategies’ and ‘tactics’. he explained that strategies belong to the powerful, those who place the internet there for instance and tactics belong to the weak, those outside the powerful who use this internet. he explained his ideology through an illustration of ‘The City’. the government maps out the city, they have strategies which they employ to make one use the city the way they want. they want you to stay off certain places, go to certain places, cross certain roads, park at certain times etc, they design the city the way they want you to use it. this is where the ideology of tactics come in. we as civilians know our way around town, w know the shortcuts to different places in a way tourist visiting would not, by taking these shortcuts, we our going against the way the government has designed the city, we our going against their strategies, we our employing tactics.

Everyday lives work like this, he called it poaching, we our constantly seeking out new tactics to undermine the government strategies, he described it as some form of guerrilla war. De Certeau linked this to everyday live, this is evident in schools with the relationship between teachers or pupils, or at home between parents and children, even in work place between employers and employees, even in universities, between lecturers and students etc. however, although the weak can subverse, the powerful, with their resources can use their strategy of surveillance.

Cases of this ideology of subversion is evident in the UK where a group of students made up a fake website to trick everyone in the school into believing school was shut for the day because of the bad weather, but the school fought against this by calling every member of the school saying it was not true. a good case study depicting this ideology well enough is the 9/11 case which was said to be a ‘false flag’ use to deem the muslim society as terrorist. the authority however fought back by calling it a conspiracy theory i.e. stories made by lunatics.

this is Michel De Certeau’s ideology at a glance. the ideology of tactics and strategies explain the struggle on the web. the us of the web e.g. Facebook, not just for communication but for campaign as seen in the Egypt case depicts this.

this is what  learnt last week friday and then we were given a task to use De Certeau’s ideology in analysing a global conflict, my group and I have chosen to use the SOPA case as our global conflict. i have asked round and others seem to be using the Libya cases, etc as their case studies, this is not surprising, our group decided to take a different turn or view of global conflict, hopefully we can pass our point across effectively on tomorrows presentation. wish me luck!




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