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Singapore

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Can Singapore be described in terms of a Foucauldian ‘disciplinary society’ or a Deleuzian ‘control society’? Deleuze proposed that we are in the midst of shift from Foucault’s ‘society of discipline’ to a ‘society of control’ (1992: 3). Unlike the ‘disciplinary society’ where subjects progress from one ‘moulding’ institution to another (schools, college, factories, offices, etc.), a ‘control society’ is typified by constant modulation (Wise, 2002: 32). According to Rose, control operates by affiliating subjects to a variety of practices which by design encourage adherence to certain norms in modern liberal societies (2000: 325). This is what Deleuze meant by a ‘society of control’. Best believes we need to adopt the Deleuzian concept of a ‘control society’ to explain the societies emerging in the context of the increased surveillance and network capacity permitted by new ICTs (2010: 9).

On the other hand, Hardt and Negri propose this ‘society of control’ is simply an 'intensification and generalisation of the normalising apparatuses of disciplinarity', that now reaching beyond the institutions that initiated them and into fluctuating networks (2000: 23). Likewise, Munro believes Foucault’s disciplinary mechanism need updating to bring it in-line with the capacities of modern technologies, not replacing (2000: 693).

It is necessary to distinguish between unconscious social control and social control in relation to the institution, the latter being the planned management of a socialised human activity (Lianos, 2003: 415). Institutional control is integral to the specific activities, is usually bureaucratic, and 'is part both of the rationale and the outcome of these activities' (Lianos, 2003: 415). Lianos uses the example of...

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... Google offers 'free' storage space, along with other privileges and useful tools, in exchange for personal information that it might use to market targeted goods to its users (Andrejevic, 2007: 296). People submitted their details to Google and Facebook not out of fear or a sense of duty, but so they may enjoy the benefits offered.

Although Singaporeans do value their privacy, they are willing to submit that privacy in exchange for financial rewards or convenience (Hui et al., 2007: 27). These authors also report a growing disgruntlement at the increasing amounts of information that websites are demanding. However, it was the quantity of information requested, rather than the sensitivity of the information that had any significant influence on compliance (Hui et al., 2007: 27). This certainly aligns with the ‘enticement model’ proposed by Whitaker (1999: 141).
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