The Imperial Sensorium

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2022-06-21 14:00:05

“Providing a veil for profit-making is not the most interesting dimension of the logic of capitalism. What matters more is the way in which private companies can extend their authority over the social order.”

The colonial order casts a looming shadow over our modern times. If capitalist powers were in large part responsible for this subjugation of people, landscapes and resources through military, economic and political means, there were many other actors for whom the economic gains represented only secondary importance. To appeal to a techno-scientific class driven by world-building narratives rather than profit motives or strict martial discipline, the engineering of this global order was framed by the social politic of the day, from the rallying cry of World War II, the purge of communist anti-colonial partisans or the promise of a post-industrial middle class utopia.

This difference in motivation, carried by the rhetoric of civilisation and enlightenment, enabled colonialism to rely on a cadre of scientists, researchers and engineers projected by the State military, in order to weave systems of domination through industrialisation and, later, informatisation. Complex sets of representation, designed to map the acquisition of resources and the exploitation of labour, were enshrined. They remain operational to this day.

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