SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

 issue17Interpret suffering. Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno and the question of truthThe problem of rule-following in Michael Oakeshott author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Services on Demand




Related links

  • On index processCited by Google
  • Have no similar articlesSimilars in SciELO
  • On index processSimilars in Google


Revista de humanidades de Valparaíso

Print version ISSN 0719-4234On-line version ISSN 0719-4242

Rev. humanid. Valpso.  no.17 Valparaíso Aug. 2021  Epub Aug 01, 2021 

Artículos- Sección Miscelánea

The method Foucault gave us: the Foucauldian toolbox for thinking about philosophical problems in a digital context. Some notes and examples from the 2019 Chilean mobilizations

El método que nos regaló Foucault: la caja de herramientas foucaultiana para pensar problemas filosóficos en un contexto digital. Algunas notas y ejemplos a partir de las movilizaciones chilenas de 2019

Diego Rivera López*  * 

Nicolás Fuster Sánchez**  ** 

Jaime Bassa Mercado**  ** 

*Instituto de Sociología, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

**Centro de Estudios Interdisciplinarios en Teoría Social y Subjetividad (CEI-TESyS), Universidad de Valparaíso.


This paper seeks to highlight the French philosopher Michel Foucault's contributions regarding his analysis of power. In this sense, the text proposes a conceptual transition around the ideas that could have interested the author within a digital context, integrating some notes and examples from the 2019 Chilean mobilizations.

The article has an initial section that exposes genealogy as a way of approaching social reality. Then, it shows the social behaviors anticipation possibilities and their relationship with the information available on the web. Later, it renders an account of the algorithmic governmentality notion as a key to reading it in both normative structure and a political possibility to final state reflections.

Keywords: Foucault; algorithmic governmentality; political possibility; Chilean mobilization


El presente trabajo busca poner de manifiesto los aportes desarrollados por el filósofo francés Michel Foucault respecto de su analítica del poder. En este sentido, el texto propone un tránsito conceptual en torno a las ideas que pudieron haberle interesado al autor con un contexto digital, integrando algunas notas y ejemplos de las movilizaciones de Chile de 2019. El artículo cuenta con un apartado inicial que expone a la genealogía como forma de aproximación a la realidad social. Luego, exhibe las posibilidades de anticipación de conductas sociales y su relación con la información disponible en la web. Después, da cuenta de la noción de gubernamentalidad algorítmica como clave de lectura en tanto estructura normativa y posibilidad política para enunciar reflexiones finales.

Palabras claves: Foucault; gubernamentalidad algorítmica; posibilidad política; movilización chilena


Michel Foucault approaches things in an altogether different way. Maurice Florence

Outlandish, intellectual, and brilliant. There are probably no adjectives that would reflect Michel Foucault's characteristics. In times when in just one second, 9,304 tweets are sending, 1,044 photographs are uploading to Instagram's digital platform, 88,841 Google searches are doing along with 2.99 million emails1, we can speculate on the intellectual interest in participating, tracking and researching the world's interconnected network. We will try to use the Foucauldian toolbox for this purpose by focusing on the elements that might be interesting to him, using as examples the 2019 Chilean mobilization events.

1. Chilean mobilization: a brief account as a context to the discussion

Since October 2019, starting with a group of young female students of Liceo 7 of Providencia, several protesters took the public agenda highlighting Chilean neoliberalism's contradictions. Contrary to macroeconomic expectations and the OECD's discourses, the government's ways in neoliberal Chile were summoned week to week until the point to reunite over a million, just in the capital, protesters against intolerant forms of life.

Suppose we analyze Chile as a study case or example. In that case, we cannot forget that the Chilean economic model results from a capitalist revolution (Klein 2014, 42) that promotes liberty as an axiom. This was not an isolated process, and it is necessary to relate to deployment conditions of neoliberalism in the network world (Boltanski and Chiapello 2017, 24). Nevertheless, considering territorial, symbolic, and historical grounds, their particularities need to be thought. If we do not consider this to any analysis of social and philosophical relations implies two things. The first is to avoid the urgencies of their specificity (because they are not isomorphisms). The second is to discard the resistances that let us think about every subject matter's opacities and ruins. As we know, urgencies and resistances "can only exist in the strategic field of power relations" (Foucault 2018, 24).

In that sense, the Chilean case and its deployment perform and strengthen an institution that supports economic liberalization by an authoritarian substrate. The articulation of a political-juridical culture, with its highest expression in the 1980's Constitution to the receipt of accumulation process and the elimination of contraries ways of life - in death, mutilation or criminalization - is one of the modes that Chilean neoliberalism has operated.

Despite the temptation of considering neoliberal rationality as a relation of the individual with itself (Foucault 2014, 135), with time, environment, future, family, as an enterprise project, the Chilean case can be considered a fissure of social order. Precisely, the articulation of a collective monster (Negri 2008, 48) that aware of their precarious condition tries to politize the present by small sabotages (Lorey 2016, 111). We can not avoid that the relation between neoliberalism and Foucault is not new (Zamora and Behrent 2016; Tello, Fuster 2019). Reference the philosopher to think political alternatives to the present seem automatics, and through this article, we try to contribute to the discussion.

Considering this and the impossibility of developing all the possible arguments of protests in Chile, we decide to focus on how the Foucauldian toolbox would let us think about this process, emphasizing digital elements.

2. The Foucauldian genealogy: a theoretical analysis unavoidable method

Before any theoretical consideration about Foucault, it is necessary to dismantle some of his structures. To speak about his philosophical project is essential to remember that it points directly to the root of what we are and seeks to show the dispersion that lies behind the subject idea. The work, called genealogy in Nietzschean gesture (Foucault 2010, 30-42), is oriented to describe in its historical contingency the power struggles, the knowledge productions, control, and submission procedures that would be behind this subject constitution and the mechanisms that produce subjectivity. It is a history interpretation related to the events field that points to an individual's subjectivation ways objectified and constituted by various power-knowledge dispositif.

It should be noted that considering this article is in English, and Foucault wrote mainly in French, we will use the concept of dispositif and not the device (Foucault 2014, 69; 2018, 22) or mechanisms (Foucault 2002, 222), often used as translation, to talk about the implications of this concept. We justify this decision based on a dispositif that is always concerning something, which is not present in English literal translation (Callewaert 2017, 30).

Backing to the Foucauldian toolbox, it uses the genealogical question, not referring to the power substance or the one(s) who exercise it. Instead, it is directing to things functioning concerning those continuous processes that subject the female / male bodies, forcing us to focus on the mechanisms used to become concrete. In this way, the genealogical power analysis aims to establish "how is that subjects have been gradually, progressively, really and materially constituted through a multiplicity of organisms, forces, energies, materials, desires, thoughts, etc." (Foucault 2019, 145. Authors’ translation). The question about power -by its forms, mechanisms, and effects- will also be the subject's question, precisely the question about body objectification and subjectivation ways.

In his genealogical analyses, Foucault showed interest both in the power effects and in those discourses that develop specific ways of telling the truth and that, in this way, seek to provide a basis for certain practices exercise. The study of medicine, prisons, or sexuality can, in a certain way, be interpreted as different approaches to the power issue, but also to the networks that connect it to knowledge. From this perspective, it becomes imperative to understand the triangulation between power, knowledge, and subject.

Firstly, for Foucault, power lacks universal attributes. Its mechanisms and effects can only be described in specific historical contexts. In this regard, the French philosopher found in the term governmentality the possibility of understanding power as a particular type of relationship between men, avoiding falling into reductionisms linked to the superstructure notion (Marxist hypothesis) or the idea of violence, will, or interest as decisive power elements. Governmentality is a crucial area of analysis necessary for any political reflection (Foucault 2008, 108). However, to talk about governmentality, we must assume premises series and ways to approach reality and knowledge. Before this point, we will problematize the power.

In his various approaches to the term, Foucault develops a power conception as a circulating and distributed relationship embedded in the practices and the bodies, interiorized silently and discreetly by several dispositif and technologies constituting the subject. In this way it would be more appropriate to speak about micro-powers rather than a power understood as a great superego:

Power must be analyzed as something which circulates instead of something which only functions in the form of a chain. It is never located here or there, never in anybody's hands, never appropriated as a commodity or a piece of wealth. Power is employed and exercise through a net-like organization (...) The individual which authority has constituted is at the same time its vehicle (Foucault 2019, 147).

We understand that power is made evident, both in its practice and in its registration place, in the body. In this way, it is necessary to keep in mind that the subject is not external to power but that the types of different subjects are configuring within various kinds of power and its deployment. For instance, Slavoj Žižek (2011, 324) consider that this problematization let us think and dub the exercise of power and potential freedom.

A second precision to have in mind is to understand how power operates and what its effects are. In this regard, Foucault states that:

What makes power hold good, what makes it accepted, is simply the fact that it does not only weigh on us as a force that says no but that it traverses and produces things; it induces pleasure, forms knowledge, produces discourse. It needs to be considered as a productive network that runs through the whole social body, much more as a negative instance whose function is repression. (2019, 187. Authors’ translation)

Therefore, it reflects power concerning formal mechanisms and points to the concrete power functioning: domination techniques and the knowledge dispositif produced by and for it. A clear example of the power productive dimension can be found in the normative divisions that allow individuals to objectify and classify. A history of the body's government implies, on the one hand, analyzing the production of this normative complex within the knowledge-power binomial and, on the other hand, describing its effects on the bodies of a society at a given time. We cannot think about the network world (Boltanski and Chiapello 2017, 75) without the impact of signs and symbols deregulated flow that affects subjectivation modes (Berardi 2019, 113), nor can we avoid the Internet as part of such analysis.

If we aim at a regime in which the digital world is part of any theoretical analysis, one could ask, for example, how something that is automatically produced by algorithms would be transformed into a truth regime by being considered "reliable" in itself. In Chile, President Sebastián Piñera quoted a "big data" report as an argument to adduce foreign intervention in the people's protests (Ayala and Ojeda 2019). Also, he related, just based on tweets, K-pop music consumption to riots organization and looting. The reason was to obtain "extraordinarily sophisticated information from analyses with big data technology." However, the discourse has productivity and is also a strange event that can produce political articulations.

It is certainly a strange event: first, because on the one hand it is linked to the gesture of writing or to the articulation of speech, and also on the other hand it opens up to itself a residual existence in the field of a memory, or in the materiality of manuscripts, books, or any other form of recording; secondly, because, like every event, it is unique, yet subject to repetition, transformation, and reactivation; thirdly, because it is linked not only to the situations that provoke it, and to the consequences that it gives rise to, but at the same time, and in accordance with a quite different modality, to the statements that precede and follow it (Foucault 2002, 31).

Therefore, the main thing is to understand that their deployment, the technologies associated with body subjection, and objectification link to the knowledge that serves them as a legitimate argument and the power that makes them operational. Genealogical analysis operates on studying those power practices that make possible specific knowledge development (healthcare register, school evaluation, surveillance data, etc.). Those support normative divisions in charge of individual classification, giving birth to particular and specific subjectivity into a determined historical-social context.

In this sense, the knowledge discourse (which is always a discourse of truth), which supports these normative divisions and these individual's subjection and objectification mechanisms, is a discourse that produces subjectivity. In short, it is a power inherently linked to the knowledge that underpins the design and extension of these technologies: specific knowledge which is born of the will to dominate, in charge of constituting the objects through their classification and disciplining to subsequently make them possible as the discourse describes and explains them.

The need to aestheticize a foreign "enemy" diverted attention. It justified an initial statement by the Chilean government regarding a "war against a powerful and implacable enemy" through the alleged intrinsic reliability of digital data collection. Alternatively, in operational terms, using "big data" as a truth discourse (Beer 2016, 3) and truth regime. From the Foucauldian toolbox, it remembers the suggestion of a concerted study of different power practices like dominance, government, discipline, normalization, and his game of truth (knowledge). As Patxi Lanceros (1996, 109) said, "From the set of knowledge-power arises technologies (that could have institutional character but is not necessary to acquire it) in which subject is constituted from the optic of relations between men [humankind] (individuals and or groups." This is why it is precise, describe and analyze the mechanisms of objectivation and subjectivization of individuals to understand the triangulation that operates between power, knowledge, and subject. This kind of problematization must pay special attention to the effects of truth, which originates from the close connection between knowledge and power in its productivity. For Foucault, this should be read, precisely, with a genealogical strategy.

In this regard, this genealogical work raises the existence of three forms or procedures aimed to control the production of the discourse in our society: prohibition (political, subversive, etc.), the opposition between reason and madness, and finally, the opposition between true or false (Foucault 1971, 9-12). We must not lose sight that this power is exercised, fundamentally, through the opinion and expert's intervention (an international foreign agency); through institutions development (Chilean National Intelligence Agency, Ministry of Interior and Public Security) the extension of disciplinary technologies. Thus, we see the consolidation of the figures of the data scientist, the engineer, etc. The only legitimate constituted knowledge spokespersons, the only representatives of sound knowledge, are authorized to exercise their practices and intervene in the name of knowledge-power.

Provided that, the materiality of discourse goes beyond and perform the social order of Chilean neoliberalism as a creative force. In 1981, Friedrich Hayek, invited by the Chilean civic-military dictatorship, said in El Mercurio: "I prefer a liberal dictator to a democratic government without liberalism" (Santa Cruz 1981). More than simples desires, his words anticipated the authoritarian twist of transnational corporative neoliberalism, which was articulated by deploying the global accumulation process. The same political process that let the 26 people in the whole world accumulate the same amount of money that 50% low (Oxfam 2018). In a nutshell, it is not strange that economic liberalism, liberal State, and political authoritarianism were related; this is precisely their mode.

Since all war between states has become criminal with respect to the world order, not only do we now see only limited conflicts, but the very nature of the enemy has changed: the enemy has been domesticated. The liberal State has folded into Empire to such an extent that even when the enemy is identified as a state, a "rogue state" in the cavalier terminology of imperial diplomats, the war waged against it now takes the form of a simple police operation, a matter of in-house management, a law and order initiative (Tiqqun 2011, 90).

3. Predictions and digital information

In this sense, there are several ways in which disciplinary technologies could intervene or not in the name of knowledge-power. We will focus on the capitalism we inhabit technical expansion before problematizing its scope for this reflection purposes. In 1978, Foucault delivered some warnings under the name of New Internal Order and Social Control. Although this text does not belong to a book, an intervention in a university, it confirms, between the lines, that governmentality is an analytical category that allows us to understand the changes in political rationality that accompanied the neoliberalism emergence and the advent of a new social order with its respective control dispositif.

Among the elements identified, one is vital for this reflection to develop a global information system. In this respect, there is a need for precision: it does not need to orients towards omnipresent and panoptic vigilance but instead seeks the possibility of intervening at a creation or constitution moment of a potential danger to power. According to Foucault, we recall that the passage from liberalism to neoliberalism implied control mechanisms updating. In particular, the need to extend a permanent information system for the State's knowledge about individuals.

A consensus that obviously goes through a whole control system, coercion and incitement that passes through mass media, and that, in a certain way, without power having to intervene by itself, without having to pay, the sometimes, very high cost of power exercising, is going to mean a certain spontaneous regulation that will make order generate itself (...) through its own agents (Foucault 1978).

If we take this idea and compare it with Gilles Deleuze's (2006, 4) diagnosis, who, based on discontinuities identification and new technologies emergence in Postscript on control societies, identifies disciplinary mechanisms decline in the transition towards informatics and the processes derived from it. According to the author, an essential element lies in the body concept, since, in this new phase, we can problematize it from signals emission and reception and not only from their "extractions."

Let us imagine the extractions and signals potential in a multimedia exchange platform in social networks. More than fifty years ago, Guy Debord (2000, 24) pointed out that spectacle society socializes through images. In the middle of 2020, and with large databases distributed throughout Silicon Valley, automated and oriented to personalized marketing with increasing analytical productivity (Srnicek 2018, 50-57), one could ask about Foucault's interest problematizing the global interconnected network.

Foucault's surprise would be great if he were to search through the hashtag (#)2 for different types of publications available on the web. He would probably be surprised to find out (while searching for #ChileDesperto [Chile woke up] or #ChileanRevolution) that he would have different enunciation possibilities, naturalizing private space expressions like the Internet's as if they were public (Rivera 2018, 90) because of their scope. Concern or perhaps hypothesis ratification satisfaction by observing how computer systems can self-regulate for different purposes.

Regarding "dangers" control and identification, he could say a lot, especially if he decided to investigate political practices associated with Chile's demonstrations. No doubt, Foucault would be amazed to find #ChileDesperto [Chile woke up] on Instagram, for example. Just by carrying out this search, 950,000 immediate results were found, including protests videos, counter-campaigns, torture sequences by police and law enforcement agencies, etc. The algorithm programming would offer digital help. It would personalize the content, even violent images - "under your responsibility"- identifying your interests to project them with geographical criteria and in consumption logic to keep you connected (Rivera 2020, 190). Precisely, creating a kind of personalized fingerprint (Puente and Lasén 2016, 31), which can be used for criminal investigations, as in the case of a 16-year-old young man who was associated with Santiago's Metro (subway or underground) burning due to his use of social networks (Matus 2019). This, extending the vigilance in exponential ways (Sadin 2018a , 35).

There are many explanations for this phenomenon, but we allow ourselves to highlight a significant Foucauldian influence. Flavia Costa (2012, 144-147) thinks that disciplinary societies' change to control societies modifies the latter's possibility condition. If it was freedom in disciplinary societies, in control societies, it is information that gives the faculty the power to act at a distance if necessary.

To obtain effective obedience, power no longer requires individualizing and totalizing "face to face" at the same time; it can operate on entire populations through numerical control on "divides" that is, on data banks, figures, identities without depth or significant differences (Costa 2012, 140).

Indeed, information can be displayed, and its scope amplified in the new visual regime that goes with neoliberalism. We can even trace the trajectories and see how they are disputed (Berardi 2007, 114) as symbolic capitals. However, we have not discussed how subjects contribute to information deployment. In neoliberalism, we must state a hegemonic morality that calls for communication and implies permanent personal information and voluntary delivery (Han 2014, 18) through digital platforms. In this manner, we could identify a structural factor in surveillance cameras deployment for security and population vigilance, but also a privacy overexposure as a particular form of socialization (Sarlo 2018, 112), even though it includes, or not, actions that could be considered "criminal" such as barricades use or direct political actions against police officers.

According to Pablo Rodríguez (2019, 49-52), we state that this process has produced a new information episteme. To point out an episteme implies to assume that a set of modifications in the western truth criteria, generating unique discursive formations manifests in the rise of new knowledge that does not have the human being as its center, but that focuses on information. Cybernetics and computing would enter this new form with an exponential increase of available content possibilities thanks to social networks such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Constituting a new kind of archive but digital, extending possibilities of subjectivation (Tello 2018, 168), and therefore: investigation.

Another process consequence and the one highlighted in this paper is the emergence of a new kind of population: the public.

The public, a key concept in the XVIII century, is the population considered from the point of its opinions, its ways of doing things, its behavior, its habits, its fears, its prejudices, its demands: the whole population susceptible to the education, campaigns, convictions influence (Foucault 2008, 75-77).

The population installation as an analytical category immediately implies a political problem installation meant for processes regularization that could or could not be random. The idea of driving behaviors (Lanceros 1996, 146-148) shows that government procedures will aim to overcome individual resistance to adjust them to standards and seek to generate balances in a logic that calculates risks. It is not the search for a criminal defeat or rehabilitation, but merely a possibilities approach around circumstances. The population, then, represents the power of a sovereign as an end and instrument of any government. In this sense, and thinking about Chile, aestheticizing as a left or close to K-pop music international group responsible for social protests, materializes an internal enemy's logical speech that must be identified, isolated, and defeated.

However, a new type of population existence allows power mechanisms reorganization to exercise government over a specific group with structural heterogeneities. Nevertheless, the power exercise has two faces: totalizing and individualizing. A government of omnes et singulatim: each and every one. A government of omnes et singulatim: each and everyone (Costa 2017, 46). In the context of neoliberalism and with information as a condition for government possibility, Costa (2012, 141) points out that the public is multiplying and becoming targets in a commercial key.

4. Algorithmic government: a new reading key

Although these reflections allow us to articulate some of Foucault's concepts with the digital problem, in our opinion, they are not capable of providing an element in tension account with the technical rationality that accompanies the use of new technologies. Indeed, it opens a question of new rationality (Rouvroy and Stiegler 2016, 8), moving the original question according to algorithms or technologies as neutral, forgetting that IA eventually recommends something and have a choice to decide for us. In this context, we think that the most exciting proposal made in recent years is algorithmic governmentality. However, before stressing the reading proposal analysis's main dimensions, we will overview the conceptual framework that supports this category.

In this respect, it is necessary to begin by pointing out that, as we propose here, the questions about the form(s) of government and its relationship with technologies are not new, a large part of Michel Foucault's work was built based on societies restructures. The questions' relevance from the economic, social, and cultural spheres would always be adequate to elucidate these issues. So, in this case, the questions will be guided by neoliberalism.

Significantly, when we propose to investigate the changes in social relationships as an emergence and deployment result of new information and communication technologies - such as recommendation systems, machine learning, or predictive algorithms - we understand that these have a dialogical and procedural character, in which the conflict and its mediations transforms into irreducible analysis dimensions.

Instead of starting the investigation with production and reception logics analysis to look for their overlapping or confrontation relations, we propose to start from the mediations, which are the places where constraints delimit and shape the social materiality and cultural expressiveness (Barbero 1991, 233).

In that same orbit gravitates the epistemic framework that we propose for this reading: semiocapitalism. Precisely, semiocapitalism is a concept worked by Franco Berardi (2018, 38) in which there is a production way, generating an accumulation of material, immaterial and symbolic wealth from the signs production and collection that affect the subjectivation processes and makes discontinuities about the subject concept (Sadin 2018b, 28). It should also be noted that technology, especially the virtual kind, impacts and accelerates this process by producing a cultural change that can explain the relationship between economy and aesthetics. Considering that as we exist, we accumulate data and, therefore, capital.

However, it is necessary to characterize algorithmic governance considering the above arguments. Algorithmic governance is a concept coined by Antoinette Rouvroy and Thomas Berns (2016, 90) that alludes to a (a)normative or (a)political rationality type that relies on the automated collection and extensive database analysis, which can model or anticipate social behavior. On the other hand, Fernanda Bruno (2013, 161-163) calls this same phenomenon "algorithmic individualization," adding the simulation idea in social networks' information delivery. Consequently, from the previous considerations, we can identify Flavia Costa's postulates, who adds that algorithmic governance no longer needs the capacity of agency or reflexivity but only requires the individuals' participation in consumption terms (Costa 2017, 52). This way, a prudent technology user is made who is confronted with proposals and questioned from a personalization designed through binary codes, which promotes a truth regime that is sustained by itself (Rouvroy and Stiegler, 2016, 25).

In the proposed reflection, we have identified the lack of subject characterization that underlies this relationship. As Rouvroy and Stiegler (2016, 7) said, in a digital context, the question worth is "what is the significance of critique?" We find works oriented to the individualization processes, the reason why we consider relieving the Internet as a space where the political possibility condition (Rivera 2018, 111) can be revised in Foucauldian terms.

However, we must account for another theoretical relationship to understand the relationship between technologies, political action, and dispositif. As stated, genealogy, a methodological and analytical look that questions the subject's subjectivation modes, places in constant evidence its character due to political action through theoretical-practical sets. This point is why Foucault focuses on the description of specific technologies that have objectification and subjection function. The author distinguishes four types: production technologies, signs systems, power, and the Self. For this analysis, we will focus on the last two:

Which determine the conduct of individuals and submit them to certain ends or domination, an objectivizing of the subject (...) a certain number of operations on their own bodies and souls, thoughts, conduct, and way of being, so as to transform themselves in order to attain a certain state of happiness, purity, wisdom, perfection, or immortality (Foucault 1988, 18).

respectively. Therefore, each technology is associated with a domination mode.

Referring to the previous exhibition, Foucault (1984, 128) finds in the dispositif figure the possibility of strategic articulation between the different pieces of knowledge and the several practices that constitute the technologies-understanding this as a network, or a heterogeneous set that includes discourses, institutions, architectural installations, laws, statements, philosophical and moral propositions, etc., which accounts for the different forms of subjects modeling by the strategic framework virtual dispositif. The dispositif is a network that interweaves heterogeneous elements operates as a game in which different discourses position changes make concerning the practices.

In this sense, genealogy takes charge of the different types of dispositif critical analysis -understood as a historical network of heterogeneous elements with strategic effects-, destined to objectify different subjects. The urgency to which the device responds -as a clash of forces-, demands a strategy that always operates as a visibility regime, hiding individual bodies and exposing others. It should then be noted that they function following specific objectives aimed at a particular purpose, constituting a space for strategic articulation between power and knowledge.

It is worth deepening these relationships highlighting Bart Cammaerts' proposals (2018, 74-77) that integrate the notion about technologies of the Self to develop ways in which we internalize norms. Likewise, he alludes to this concept to problematize the dispositif series, practices, discourses, knowledge, and tools we use to construct our identities. Cammaerts relates this concept to mediations and names "technologies of self-mediation" to the tools that allow us to build collective identities concerning electronic devices use. Along with or preceding it, he highlights the political potential and assumes that social movements could be self-conscious in the mass identity construction.

One of the elements that best illustrates the self-awareness possibility is the emergence of the so-called "First Line." A self-managed group, which is the defense group of direct action in the mobilizations in Chile. Although social media started calling them that way, they have been appropriating this name week by week.

If we take up the Foucauldian body notion, we can remember that it allows us to enter into ways of life, to problematize the inscription of affections forms around it. Particularly, assuming the body as a registration and rejection territory of the present conditions and a place where the "First line" demonstrators' possible conditions are managed-a body exposed to life mutations but with agency capacity that is per-forming. In methodological terms, a valuable document to approach the social memory deposited in it (Foucault 2018, 15-16). Writing #PrimeraLinea [First Line] in some social networks easily surpasses the 110,000 publications possibilities if you add "Chile" or if the search language is changed. By doing this, the searching potential for traces amplifies to problematize the series of regimes that model them, their breaks, representations, and reinvention possibilities.

The «no» directed to the power is not anymore, the starting point of a dialectic fight against it, it is the opening to a path. Say «no» constitutes a minimal form of resistance. The last one must open a process of creation, of transformation of the situation, with active participation in the process. This is resisting, according to Foucault (Lazzarato 2006, 43).

The possible regimen can not be thought of without a digital context because it opens the possibility to the political event (Lazzarato 2014, 88). Indeed, the change in the order of collective sense, the mutation of collective subjectivity- following this argument- is different in the semiocapital (Berardi 2007, 38). It performs new possibilities of the world, new relations with the economy, considering that social network came from a worldwide corporation, and let the people dispute signs, symbols, and significances as potential new forms of existence. Or, in Tiqqun words:

Look each other in the eyes and say we are starting over. Let everyone know it, as quickly as possible. We are starting over. We are done with passive resistance, inner exile, conflict through subtraction. survival. We are starting over (Tiqqun 2010, 200).

This process possibly corresponds to the actualization of what we understand for the circulation of power. A power that is invisible but links as a print that comes from everywhere. It would mean that the subjectivation is a strategic challenge, just as a political-epistemological problem (Sir 2019, 53).

However, when talking about identifications and trajectories such as the "First Line" mythification, we cannot ignore these denominations' use collectively, denying individual identities. If we adopt this reflection to the Foucauldian terminology, we find resistance to biopower from direct action to dispute the political possibility conditions from anonymity. In this sense, Bordeleau (2018, 27) says that the anonymity, in a demonstrations and revolts context with a digital presence, allows exercising sabotage to the massive and visual representation of conventional forms - in a located way- with oneself radical detachment as a subject that seeks to be recognized.

Collective action amplifies its action by the Internet. Self-mediation disputes public agenda, denunciating police violence as a watchdog (Helmueller and Mellado 2016, 3266), promoting alternative modes of information, appropriation, and counternarratives (Constanza-Chock 2020, 51). Thus, using the Internet as a platform to show when President Piñera went to eat pizza with his grandson in moments when Santiago literally was on fire or identify in social media who shot and mutilate several protesters and a long etcetera.

By contrast, some proposal that considers political imagination is no more extended (Rouvroy and Berns 2016, 13). Self-management of digital platforms as spaces of political discussion or digital like a social pedagogy shown the contrary. Precisely the algorithmic space is the opposite of political articulation but is the space of political articulation for new generations, which naturalizes it as their initial socialization space to perform political action in the public space.

Finally, the self-notion technologies and their relationship with the self-mediation technologies allow us to theorize the interaction between mediations and practices. Replacing politics, generating a new political interpretation framework in which conflict determines reflections and provides an insight into the conditions of political possibility that structure, enhance, and facilitate digital devices. Foucault, once again, contributes to the diagnosis of the present.

5. Final reflections

The layout made in this paper could be synthesized around the contributions made by Foucault regarding his toolbox and present-day conditions. In other words, this fundamental approach contributes to showing how the use of Foucauldian political categories and their respective theoretical articulations manages to address new philosophical problems that emerge in the present-day. We find an example of it on Chile's ongoing protests and the analysis categories that might have interested Foucault.

However, critical reflection on a political event in progress challenges the hypotheses raised by the facts. However, a philosophical exercise of this magnitude could be deepened from the categories integration that allows epistemic complementarity having the ways of life problematization as the horizon.

Finally, it will be our responsibility to think about how our body made us new territory to digital and capitalist accumulation. But the Foucauldian toolbox would help us, again.


Diego Rivera López received financial support for the ANID-PhD Grant of The Program for the Formation of Advanced Human Capital Program, number 2121006. He is also is immensely humbled and grateful to Psychology students from Fundamentos Socioculturales 2019 and 2020 at Universidad de Valparaíso. They were fundamental to these reflections, and this article belongs to them too.

The ANID-Fondecyt Program supported this work by Regular Project Number 1210394 "La precariedad de los derechos sociales y su incidencia en la configuración de las relaciones de poder en la sociedad: una aproximación política como respuesta a la crisis social y a su débil garantía constitucional", (Jaime Bassa, principal researcher), and Initiation Project Number 1117093 "El problema de la hiperfrecuentación en la atención primaria de salud en Chile. Hacia una comprensión del malestar inexplicable" (Nicolás Fuster, principal researcher).


Ayala, Leslie, Ojeda, Juan Manuel. (2019). Informe Big Data fue elaborado por la empresa española Alto Data Analytics. La Tercera. . Consulta: 29/12/2020. [ Links ]

Barbero, Jesús Martín (1991). De los medios a las mediaciones. Comunicación, cultura y hegemonía. México D.F.: Gustavo Gili. [ Links ]

Beer, David (2016). How should we do the history of Big Data? Big Data & Society, 3(1), 1-10. ]

Berardi, Franco (2007). Generación post-alfa: patologías e imaginarios en el semiocapitalismo. Buenos Aires: Tinta Limón Ediciones. [ Links ]

Berardi, Franco (2018). Breathing. Chaos and Poetry. London: MIT Press. [ Links ]

Berardi, Franco (2019). Futurabilidad. La era de la impotencia y el horizonte de posibilidad. Buenos Aires: Caja Negra. [ Links ]

Boltanski, Luc, Chiapello, Ève (2017). The new spirit of capitalism. London: Verso. [ Links ]

Bordeleau, Éric (2018). Foucault anonimato. Buenos Aires: Cactus. [ Links ]

Bruno, Fernanda (2013). Máquinas de ver, modos de ser: Vigilância, tecnologia e subjetividade. Porto Alegre: Sulina. [ Links ]

Callewaert, Staf (2017). Foucault’s concept of dispositif. Praktiske Grunde: Nordisk tidsskrift for kulturoch samfundsvidenskab, 1-2, 29-52. [ Links ]

Cammaerts, Bart (2018). The Circulation of Anti-Austerity Protest. London: Palgrave Macmillan. [ Links ]

Constanza-Chock, Sasha (2020). Design Justice. Community-Led Practices to Build the Worlds We Need. London: The MIT Press. [ Links ]

Costa, Flavia (2012). Biopolítica informacional. Apuntes sobre las tecnologías de gobierno de los públicos en las sociedades de control. Espacio Nueva Serie, 7, 138-153. [ Links ]

Costa, Flavia (2017). Omnes et singulatim en el nuevo orden informacional. Gubernamentalidad algorítmica y vigilancia genética. Poliética. Revista de ética y filosofía política, 5(1), 40-73.ética.v5i1.36356 Links ]

Debord, Guy (2000). La Sociedad del Espectáculo. Valencia: Pre-Textos. [ Links ]

Deleuze, Gilles (2006). Post-scriptum sobre las sociedades de control. POLIS, Revista académica de la Universidad Bolivariana, 5(13), 1-5. [ Links ]

Foucault, Michel (1971). Orders of discourse. Social Science Information, 10(2), 7-30. Links ]

Foucault, Michel (1978). Nuevo orden interior y control social. Viejo Topo, 7, 5-7. [ Links ]

Foucault, Michel (1984). Saber y verdad. Madrid: Piqueta Ediciones. [ Links ]

Foucault, Michel (1988). Technologies of the self. Amherst: The University of Massachusetts Press. [ Links ]

Foucault, Michel (2002). Archaeology of Knowledge. London: Routledge. [ Links ]

Foucault, Michel (2008). Security, Territory, Population. Lectures at the Colllège de France 1977-1978. London: Palgrave MacMillan. [ Links ]

Foucault, Michel (2010). Nietzsche, Freud, Marx. Buenos Aires: La Página. [ Links ]

Foucault, Michel (2014). The Birth of Biopolitics. Lectures at the Colllège de France 1978-1979. New York: Palgrave MacMillian. [ Links ]

Foucault, Michel (2018). The History of Sexuality. Volume 1 An introduction. London: Penguin Random House. [ Links ]

Foucault, Michel (2019). Microfísica del poder. Buenos Aires: Siglo XXI. [ Links ]

Han, Byung-Chul (2014). El enjambre. Buenos Aires: Herder. [ Links ]

Hellmueller, Lea, Mellado, Claudia (2016). Watchdogs in Chile and the United States: Comparing the Networks of Sources and Journalistic Role Performances. International Journal of Communication, 10, 3261-3280. [ Links ]

Klein, Naomi (2014). The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. London: Penguin Random House . [ Links ]

Lanceros, Patxi (1996). Avatares del hombre. El pensamiento de Michel Foucault. Bilbao: Universidad de Deusto. [ Links ]

Puente, Héctor, Lasén, Amparo (2016). La cultura digital. Barcelona: Universitat Oberta de Catalunya. [ Links ]

Lazzarato, Maurizio (2006). Por una política menor. Acontecimiento y política en las sociedades de control. Madrid: Traficantes de Sueños. [ Links ]

Lazzarato, Maurizio (2014). Experimental Politics. Work, Welfare, and Creativity in the Neoliberal Age. London: The MIT Press . [ Links ]

Lorey, Isabell (2016). State of Insecurity. Government of the Precarious. London: Verso . [ Links ]

Matus, Javiera (2019). Detenido por quema de Metro acudió a llamado de facción de Garra Blanca. La Tercera. . Consulta: 29/12/2020. [ Links ]

Negri, Antonio (2008). Le monstre politique: Vie nue et puissance. Multitudes, 33(2), 37-52. ]

Oxfam (2018). Reward work, not wealth. Oxford: Oxfam Internacional. [ Links ]

Rivera, Diego (2018). Internet y su potencial político: hacktivismo en Anonymous Chile (2011-2016). Revista F@ro, 1(31), 86-116. [ Links ]

Rivera, Diego (2020). Socialización mediante algoritmos. De los sistemas de recomendación a las predicciones. En Andrés Tello (ed.), Tecnologías, política y Algoritmos en América Latina, pp. 147-156. Santiago: Cenaltes Ediciones. [ Links ]

Rodríguez, Pablo (2019). Las palabras en las cosas. Saber, poder y subjetivación entre algoritmos y biomoléculas. Buenos Aires: Cactus . [ Links ]

Rouvroy, Antoniette, Berns, Thomas (2016). Gubernamentalidad algorítmica y perspectivas de emancipación. ¿La disparidad como condición de individuación a través de la relación? Adenda filosófica, 1, 88-116. [ Links ]

Rouvroy, Antoniette, Stiegler, Bernard (2016). The digital regime of truth: from the algorithmic governmentality to a new rule of law. Journal La Deleuziana, 3, 6-29. [ Links ]

Sadin, Éric (2018a). La humanidad aumentada. La administración digital del mundo. Buenos Aires: Caja Negra Editores. [ Links ]

Sadin, Éric (2018b). La silicolonización del mundo. La irresistible expansión del liberalismo digital. Buenos Aires: Caja Negra . [ Links ]

Sarlo, Beatriz (2018). La intimidad pública. Buenos Aires: Seix Barral. [ Links ]

Santa Cruz, Lucía (1981). Entrevista a Friedrich von Hayek. El Mercurio, 19 de Abril de 1981, 8-9. [ Links ]

Sir, Hugo (2019). Inclinaciones estratégicas: afectos, resistencias, mapas en movimiento. En Andrés Tello y Nicolás Fuster (eds.), Subversión Foucault. Usos teórico-políticos, pp.49-64. Santiago: Metales Pesados. [ Links ]

Srnicek, Nick (2018). Capitalismo de plataformas. Buenos Aires: Caja Negra . [ Links ]

Tello, Andrés (2018). Anarchivismo. Tecnologías políticas del archivo. Santiago: Ediciones La Cebra. [ Links ]

Tello, Andrés, Fuster Sánchez, Nicolás (2019). Subversión Foucault. Usos teórico-políticos . Santiago: Metales Pesados. [ Links ]

Tiqqun (2010). Introduction to Civil War. London: MIT Press . [ Links ]

Tiqqun (2011). This is not a program. London: MIT Press . [ Links ]

Zamora, Daniel, Behrent, Michael C. (2016). Foucault and neoliberalism. London: Polity Press. [ Links ]

Žižek, Slavoj (2011). Living in the end times. London: Verso [ Links ]

1 Internet Live Stats (2021). One second on the Internet.

2A word or phrase preceded by a numeral sign (#) that identifies messages or content on a specific topic.

Received: August 28, 2020; Accepted: January 25, 2021

Creative Commons License This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License