This chapter opens with a discussion of Gilles Deleuze’s theorization of control societies and its relation to concepts of post-Fordism, neoclassical economics, immaterial labor, and attention economies. Following this, the chapter traces the historical relationship between the conceptual structure of control and the fundamental logic of the capitalist mode of production. This historical examination passes through three major stages: an analysis of Marx’s work on capital, labor, and abstraction; a discussion of Charles Babbage’s work on computing machines, political economy, factories, and theology; and a close reading of the automation of essentialism that undergirds Herman Hollerith’s late-nineteenth century work on machine tabulation.
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