SourcesSubjectivation (or subjection) is the process whereby the subject is constituted as such and subjectivity is materialised. This constellation of concepts is premised on the constructedness and processuality of identity, which is not seen as a fixed or ‘natural’ state, or even a stable end-point to be reached. Subjectivation is a process not a condition, situation or grounding for being in the world; nor is it a process in the sense of fixed goals, for we do not know what a subject “is”. Capitalism itself may be defined, not as a “mode of production”, but rather as a machine of subjectivation/ subjection. For Deleuze and Guattari, capital acts as a formidable “point of subjectivation that constitutes all human beings as subjects; but some, the ‘capitalists’, are subjects of enunciation […], while others, the ‘proletarians’, are subjects of the statement, subjected to the technical machines.” (A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia II, London: Continuum, 1987, p. 457). It is through processes of subjectivation regulated by technologies of governance and control that an ordered public sphere is generated and maintained. The fractures in dominant forms of subjectivation have often been exposed by movements whose challenge to the social order takes the form of explorations of new forms of individuality, new definitions of who we may become, beyond the bounds of preordained identities.
Genealogies of practice
- Themroc (Francia) Claude Faraldo, 1972
Themroc tells the story of a French blue collar worker who rebels against modern society and Fordist subjectivation- inside and outside the factory-, and becomes an urban caveman. Intelligible dialogue is replaced by an invented language of whistles and growls intended to sabotage social control.
- Nr. 1 - Aus Berichten der Wach - und Patrouillendienste (De Informes, de Patrullas y Vigilancias Nº (Alemania) Helke Sander, 1984
With her two small children, a mother climbs onto the arm of a construction crane and threatens to jump if no affordable housing is found for her before that evening. “I could understand that a woman must have powerful reasons to place her children in danger”, Sander stated, “but I was more concerned with the large scale implications of such an action; I couldn’t care less about the actual motives”.
- Workers leaving the Factory ("Trabajadores saliendo de la fábrica") (Alemania/Germany) Harun Farocki, 1995
The Lumière Brothers’ famous "La sortie de l’usine Lumière à Lyon" (1895) is the point of departure for an in-depth look at the way that film history has dealt with the subject of workers leaving a factory, from the birth of cinema. Through this film essay, Farocki contemplates the organisation of life in an industrialised society, while meditating on cinema as a means of constructing its representations.