Baudrillard 1- Piaget 0

Cyberspace, Subjectivity and The Ascension

Paul Dowling

Culture, Communication & Societies

Insitute of Education
University of London
Presented as a public seminar, School of Education, University of Cape Town, 24th April 1996
Blasphemy has always seemed to require taking things very seriously.
(Haraway, 1991; p. 149)
Subjectivity is, of course, a perennial problem and nowhere more so than in the area of technology. To assert that subjectivity is a problem, however, is not to claim that it is always recognised as such. It sometimes appears that the world is divided into those who do and those who do not recognise the problem. Arguably, this is the root of 'technological determinism'. It is not so much that those accused of determinism really attribute subjectivity to technology, but rather that they ignore subjectivity altogether. Those making such accusations are likely to ignore the fact that, in order to establish subjectivity, it has to be located somewhere and this is, ultimately, a matter of choice, or a matter of faith.

The central proposition that I want to explore in this paper is that the nature of contemporary high technology-and, in particular, information technology-is signalling a new order of relationships which moves beyond the simple dualisms of modernity. This is a claim which has been widespread in recent years and is expressed imaginatively by Donna Haraway in her 'Cyborg Manifesto' (1991). Haraway foregrounds feminist agendas. I am particularly concerned with the transcendence of the intellectual/manual hierarchy through the progressive subordination of both intellectual and manual practices to a higher level of abstracted organisation. I shall approach this, firstly, through a brief consideration of four popular and/or, shall we say, cyberculture texts. These texts variously locate subjectivity in the present, in future utopias, or in past edenic states. Secondly, I want to discuss some approaches that reveal subjectivity through their claims (stronger or weaker) to suggest direction for progressive action. Thirdly, I shall introduce an understanding of technological development-which is to say, development in the division of labour-which will enable the encoding, and hence, transcending, of intellectual practices in terms of a hyper-intellectual abstraction. In the concluding section, I shall recruit from the field of psychoanalysis in order to suggest an interpretation of technology and, ultimately, of all social activity as an arena for the establishment of a social unconscious.

1. Subjectivity and popular and cyberculture

A recent advertisement for Microsoft products, for example, claims that:
... 3D Movie Maker has unleashed an awesome imagination on the world. It allows me to write my own plot and dialogue, choose sets, cast and costumes, shoot from different camera angles, play with special effects and make 3D animated movies.
(in Kids Out!, volume 2, issue 2, 1996)
The program, it would seem, facilitates an intellectual potential that was somehow awaiting its production. The advertisement reflects the tension: 'Is this software brilliant', in small, plain, yellow letters, feeds into one ear of its character (an androgynous child sporting dreadlocks); 'or is it just my imagination?', in large, three-dimensional, orange and green letters of increasing size, emerges from the other ear. As we might expect in an advertisement, the politico-economic activities of the multinational corporation that sponsors it lie very much in the background. Microsoft are constituted as providers of tools which confront readers of the advert as use-values. Subjectivity is located very much in the here and now, with the individual user who grasps the tool in order to realise this use-value in the elaboration of their own projects.

This way of discoursing about the use-value of technology is common amongst information technology users in communication with each other. For example, the following is an extract from an internet page celebrating 'New Tools for Teaching':
I'm not a techie by any means: I'm a working scholar and teacher who has found in these new tools the most exciting possibilities to enhance teaching that have come along in my twenty years in front of the classroom. That's the perspective here--how to take our academic 'day job' and do it better, improve morale among faculty and students, and begin the transformation of our institutions into the forms they will need to take in the information age.
(O'Donnell, J., nd)
As before, technology is there to be grasped and utilised in the existing projects of a clientele which is not dependent upon personal technical knowledge. This time, the producer of the technology is completely absent from the text, but the subject is, again, in the present. Occasionally-perhaps not so occasionally-the celebration goes further, constructing the internet and 'cyberspace' as potential tools for more fundamental social transformation. On 11th February 1996, Alexander Chislenko forwarded to the internet mailbase, Cyberspace and Society[1], a message from John Perry Barlow. Barlow's message (dated 8th February 1996) begins:
Yesterday, that great invertebrate in the White House signed into the law the Telecom 'Reform' Act of 1996, while Tipper Gore took digital photographs of the proceedings to be included in a book called '24 Hours in Cyberspace'.

I had also been asked to participate in the creation of this book by writing something appropriate to the moment. Given the atrocity that this legislation would seek to inflict on the Net, I decided it was as good a time as any to dump some tea in the virtual harbour.

(Barlow, forwarded by Chislenko, 1996)
One of the principle atrocities seems to involve the possibility of Barlow et al being fined for saying 'shit' online. His response articulates a certain amount of abuse ('Well, fuck them') with 'A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace'. On the basis of his subsequent contributions to the mailbase, Chislenko has little sympathy with Barlow. It is certainly the case that the 'Declaration' is politically and sociologically naive. Essentially, it weaves together members of the pantheon of American and European liberalism with a claim to a technological realisation of the Cartesian mind/body dualism:
We will create a civilization of the Mind in Cyberspace. May it be more humane and fair than the world your governments have made before'
Barlow indexes his own cybernetic-colonist-which is to say, mental-identity in the form of his world wide web 'Home(stead) Page' and admits to a corporeal location in what he describes as 'Meatspace'. He signs off with a quotation from Thomas Jefferson:
It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.
But whose truth? Jefferson's own Declaration of Independence did little for the indigenous population who were scape-goated by Samuel Adams et al in their Boston protest against British support for the East India Company-a party alluded to in the first extract above. John Stuart Mill, also applauded by Barlow, was himself an official of the East India Company. Sins of the flesh (in meatspace) versus the heady ideals of the intellectual utopia, perhaps.

Barlow is still constituting technology in the form of a tool. This time, however, it is not a tool simply for concretising creative imagination or for improving one's teaching. Here, it is a revolutionary tool which enables the transcendence of the embodiment of mind. Cyberspace itself is presented as a virgin territory awaiting colonisation by subjects who will transform and release themselves. Cyberspace is neutral. Power is eliminated and there are no aboriginal inhabitants to be dispossessed. Subjectivity is a utopian version of Descartes' cogito.

Fiction is not always so naive nor so optimistic. For William Gibson in 'Johnny Mnemonic' (1986) the sundering of cyberspace and meatspace is not so simple a matter:
We're in an information economy. They teach you that in school. What they don't tell you is that it's impossible to move, to live, to operate at any level without leaving traces, bits, seemingly meaningless fragments of personal information. Fragments that can be retrieved, amplified ...
(Gibson, 1986; p. 30)
This short story has now been recontextualised as a movie starring Keanu Reeves. The original story[2] is a virtuoso play on a number of dualisms which are fundamental in western culture. The introduction of a cyborg dolphin, called Jones, who [sic] had been in the navy and 'Lo Tek' punks with dogs' teeth transplants, for example, picks away at the animal/human distinction. Gender also comes under scrutiny. The 'Magnetic Dog Sisters' are bouncers who guard the door of 'The Drome'. They were originally heterosexual lovers who had been surgically transformed to be almost identical-one black, the other white (another dualism dismantled)-'I was never quite sure which one had originally been male', Johnny remarks. Johnny's female bodyguard is victorious in martial combat with 'Eighty kilos of blond California beef' (meatspace) and a Yakuza assassin, both male, subverting the association of masculinity with physical domination with respect to the feminine. The central object of the story, however, is the Cartesian duality of mind/body.

Johnny has had implants in his head which enable him to store and transport data on an 'idiot/savant basis'. He has no access to or control over the content of this added memory. It can be downloaded only upon the production of a code phrase of which he himself is unaware. In the event, the data stored in Johnny's head is bad data. It has been stolen from the Yakuza-a multinational criminal organisation-who want it back and who don't want to leave witnesses around. But the data itself appears only as a cipher in the story. Its content is irrelevant. It has only an exchange value which, like a blackmailer's note, resides in the necessarily empty threat of its dissemination. In fact, blackmail seems likely to be the means to be employed by the Yakuza in extracting this value. Whether or not they succeeded (we do not find out), the downloaded data ends up forgotten:
... waiting for Eddie Bax [Johnny's alias] on a shelf in the back room of a gift shop on the third level of Sydney Central-5.
(ibid; p. 35)
Furthermore, lacking in any substance, the data can never be fully concealed nor destroyed. The cyborg dolphin is equipped with ex-navy detection devices called 'squids' ('superconducting quantum interference detectors'). Using the squids, Jones can read the code phrase which will enable the downloading of Johnny's data. He can also read the traces of data stored in Johnny's head by previous clients and long since removed.

The data as disembodied mind, alienated from the body by the manic cybernetic world of the 'information economy', is emptied of content. But therein lies its immortality and its incorruptibility. It can never be entirely erased from the prying 'squids'. Disembodied mind is eternal, inviolable nothingness, simulated in the narrative apparatuses of possession and threat. By contrast, the body is vulnerable. Jones is not only a demobbed cyborg, he's a junkie. Johnny's client-Ralfi Face-is dissected by the Yakuza assassin who becomes a real threat to Johnny's own body, only to be killed himself by the female bodyguard.

The assassin is not quite all body. He is a cyborg. The top joint of his thumb detaches on a length of molecular thread which can slice through steel. The assassin loses his last fight because his opponent's affinity with the physical environment which is the Lo Teks' 'killing floor' enables her to avoid the thread. The assassin, unable to adapt, amputates his own hand and, disarmed, dives to his death. He is killed not by superior weaponry, but by 'culture shock'. The 'savage (embodied, culture-dependent) mind' wins out over decontextualised technology[3]. The severed hand-the artifactual component of the cyborg-is never found. Disembodied knowledge is empty, eternal. The cyborg is a monster, a chimera.

The play on Hi Tek/Lo Tek, which signals the resolution of the mind/body dualism, appears in the first paragraph of the story. Johnny has decided to use an ancient weapon-a shotgun-to persuade Ralfi to pay up. But he has to make the cartridges himself. He has to use a lathe and find instructions on hand-loading on an old microfiche:
These days, though, you have to be pretty technical before you can even aspire to crudeness.
(ibid; p. 14)
Real knowledge, real technology is embodied, sententious. The cerebral data chip and the assassin's hand represent disembodied, empty technology-vacant mind. The body can be inscribed, but only in meaningful ways. Cosmetic surgery has enabled Ralfi to look like a rock star, Christian White; the implanting of dogs' teeth is a style which means precisely subculture[4]. Jones reads Johnny's data and speaks it in languages that Johnny can understand. The code phrase is represented in coloured lights: a blue cross, a mass of white lights, a red swastika-Christian White and his Aryan Reggae Band; intersecting texts, not an empty, arbitrary code. Jones reads the traces of the old data, but gives it back to Johnny in a different form. It can still be used to make money, but this time the threat is real; the data can be used because it is now embodied. The process gives access to a relaxed lifestyle, but:
It's educational, too. With Jones to help me figure things out, I'm getting to be the most technical boy in town.
(ibid; p. 36)
Barlow's Declaration of Independence imagines a utopia of the disembodied mind. Gibson creates an alternative Eden for subjectivity. One in which mind is (re)united with body. Yet this is no simplistic Luddism. Gibson's argument is not with technology as such, but with a particular form of technological development which alienates mind from body in the production of cyborg monsters. Expulsion from Gibson's Eden does not follow from the acquisition of knowledge, but from its loss.

In the Microsoft advert and in O'Donnell's Internet paper, technology is presented as politically neutral tools produced and recruited by mutually sympathetic human subjects currently alive and well. Barlows' 'Declaration' also construes technology as politically neutral, but now as facilitating the bootstrapping of subjectivity. But Barlow's disembodied mind is precisely the objectification which transforms subjectivity into property in Gibson's story. In contrast to the other texts, Johnny Mnemonic raises the possibility of the politicising of technology. However this is achieved, ultimately, at the expense of romanticising the human subject. In the next section, I want to consider some work, principally by Jean Baudrillard and Donna Haraway, which constitutes subjectivity (though not always human subjectivity) through proposals for progressive or critical action.

2. Subjectivity and action

Donna Haraway's postmodernist 'Cyborg Manifesto' (1991) stands as a advocacy of chimeric alliances in a new order which disperses the 'comfortable old hierarchical dominations' of class, gender and race etc in webs of power: 'scary new networks'-the 'informatics of domination' which is enabled by microelectronics. The new order codifies, disassembles and reassembles, reconstituting individuals and groups as dispersions of simulacra. Simulacra are copies without originals, they are constructions, not representations. The search for an essential subject which is represented informatically, which is the object of oppression is, fundamentally, the projection of an imagined original 'behind' the simulacrum; as a strategy, this misses the point.

Jean Baudrillard (1995) makes a similar argument in The Gulf War did not take place. Baudrillard contends that there was no war in the Gulf in the sense of an engagement between two sides. Rather, the virtual war was an acting out of a predetermined script. The enactment was accompanied by a succession of media 'decoys' presenting conflicting truths. Images of the 'clean' bombing of military targets contrasting with Saddam's images of the ruins of a milk factory. The story of Iraqi soldiers running amok in a maternity ward contrasting with the subsequent revelation that this had been a fabrication. Saddam as the cruel and deceitful oriental contrasting with the benevolence and ingenuousness of the UN forces, the latter displayed in full and frank press releases. Far from confirming the reality of the war, these images served to conceal the fact that there was no war:
... throughout these seven months, the war has unfolded like a long striptease, following the calculated escalation of undressing and approaching the incandescent point of explosion (like that of erotic effusion) but at the same time withdrawing from it and maintaining a deceptive suspense (teasing), such that when the naked body finally appears, it is no longer naked, desire no longer exists and the orgasm is cut short. In this manner, the escalation was administered to us by drip-feed, removing us further and further from the passage to action and, in any case, from the war. It is like truth according to Nietzsche: we no longer believe that the truth is true when all its veils have been removed. Similarly, we do not believe that war is war when all uncertainty is supposedly removed and it appears as a naked operation. The nudity of war is no less virtual than that of the erotic body in the apparatus of striptease.
(Baudrillard, 1995; p. 77)
Media images are paraded as representing the real characters and events of an enacted, embodied narrative. They may be more or less accurate or misleading and inaccuracies may be more or less deceitful, but they are all strongly modal texts which lay claim to a reality beyond themselves. In challenging this extratextual reality, Baudrillard claims that the 'aims' of the non-war are not concerned with the overcoming of an enemy, but with deterrence:
Electronic war no longer has any political objective strictly speaking: it functions as a preventative electroshock against any future conflict. Just as in modern communication there is no longer any interlocutor, so in this electronic war there is no longer any enemy, there is only a refractory element which must be neutralised and consensualised. This is what the Americans seek to do, these missionary people bearing electroshocks which will shepherd everybody towards democracy. It is therefore pointless to question the political aims of this war: the only (transpolitical) aim is to align everybody with the global lowest common denominator, the democratic denominator (which, in its extension, approaches ever closer to the degree zero of politics). The lowest common multiplier being information in all its forms, which, as it extends towards infinity, also approaches ever closer to the degree zero of its content.
(ibid; p. 84)
The apparatuses of striptease simulate the absent eroticism of the body; the apparatuses of the media war simulate the absent war; the apparatuses of democracy simulate the absent will of the people; the apparatuses of electronic communications and IT simulate absent knowledge. Whether we are duped by the simulacrum or whether we challenge it as ideological, we are inveigled into its game. This has always been the case with simulacra of past events. Now, communication at the speed of light entices us into a belief in the present.
This sublimation of war in what is becoming a global hyperreal order extends to all other aspects of life. Even death is no longer real; it is: longer where we think it is, it is no longer biological, psychological, metaphysical, it is no longer even murder: our societies' true necropolises are the computer banks or the foyers, blank spaces from which all human noise has been expunged, glass coffins where the world's sterilised memories are frozen
(Baudrillard, 1993; p. 185)
The hyperreal has, it would seem, already constituted what Barlow desires: a cyberspace of disembodied simulacra without representation in meatspace: no meat war; no meat death; no meat life. Far from a utopia, however. The codification of life and death might be referred to as 'the new social contract', but:
Since today this contractual demand is addressed to social authorities, whereas before one signed pacts with the Devil to prolong, enrich and enjoy one's life. The same contract, and the same trap: the Devil always wins.
(ibid; p. 191, fn)
Refusal to 'sign-up' to the social contract is effected by a claim to a real death. The reclaiming of war is, presumably, the terrorists' prerogative. The genuine terrorist must deny any codification of their game in order to release it from its ludic status. There can, in particular, be no distinction between 'hard' and 'soft' targets. Really killing yourself and/or others are not really options. The only subjectivity in Baudrillard is that of the cynic. But this might just as easily be replaced by that of the optimist of faith. St Matthew's gospel introduces the rich young man who wanted to look behind the simulacrum of 'goodness' constituted by the commandments,
The young man saith unto him, All these things have I observed: what lack I yet?
Jesus said unto him, if thou wouldest be perfect, go sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.
But when the young man heard the saying, he went away sorrowful: for he was one that had great possessions.
And Jesus said unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, it is hard for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven.
And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to pass through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
And when the disciples heard it, they were astonished exceedingly, saying, Who then can be saved?
And Jesus looking upon them said to them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
(The Holy Bible, the revised version, Oxford: OUP; Matthew, 20, 16-26)
The young man was not offered an option in verse 21. To be perfect is to be God: 'One there is who is good' (ibid; verse 17; my emphasis). The rich man cannot become that which he is not, but this neither gives nor denies him access to heaven. What he lacked was not poverty, but faith and no strategy is offered for the achievement of either.

Both cynicism and faith constitute an exteriority with respect to the codification of life/death in communications technologies (of which scripture is an instance). They are, therefore, quite rightly unanalysed by Baudrillard and in St Matthew's gospel. Exteriority can be handled only in relative terms; the construction of analytic subjects/objects of relationality would generate only more simulacra. God, of course, creates/judges: analysis would constitute post hoc creation or premature judgement.

Haraway's strategy entails the rearticulation of what she elsewhere (1992) refers to as 'inappropriate/d others', the recruiting of modern science and technologies in the subversion of the webs of power within which they are engendered, the construction of monstrous cyborgs in an oppositional and 'progressive' politics:
The cyborg would not recognize the Garden of Eden; it is not made of mud and cannot dream of returning to dust. Perhaps that is why I want to see if cyborgs can subvert the apocalypse of returning to nuclear dust in the manic compulsion to name the Enemy. Cyborgs are not reverent; they do not re-member the cosmos. They are wary of holism, but needy for connection-they seem to have a natural feel for united front politics, but without the vanguard party. The main trouble with cyborgs, of course, is that they are the illegitimate offspring of militarism and patriarchal capitalism, not to mention state socialism. But illegitimate offspring are often exceedingly unfaithful to their origins. Their fathers, after all, are inessential.
(Haraway, 1991; p. 151)
Haraway quite rightly refers to this strategy as 'blasphemy'. In a later piece, Haraway offers the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) as an example of a 'promising monster', the coalition:
... is a collective built from many articulations among unlike kinds of actors-for example, activists, biomedical machines, government bureaucracies, gay and lesbian worlds, communities of colour, scientific conferences, experimental organisms, mayors, international information and action networks, condoms and dental dams, computers, doctors, IV drug-users, pharmaceutical companies, publishers, virus components, counsellors, innovative sexual practices, dancers, media technologies, buying clubs, graphic artists, scientists, lovers, lawyers, and more.
(Haraway, 1992; p. 323)
At the 'animating center' of this coalition is People With Aids (PWA) which are 'the actors with whom others must articulate'. This description of political action is entirely consistent with the critique of representation: no one can speak for PWA because to speak on someone's behalf is to constitute a subaltern as a simulacrum which is, thereby, recruited to one's own project. But it is also simply descriptive of the daily practices of political action at all levels. All social interaction is political in the sense that it comprises the recruitment of and alliance with (in)appropriate/d others in the establishing of a position and in the distributing of practices, which is to say, the (re)constituting of simulacra. Barlow recruits liberal gods in his demonising of the meatspace which they, too, have long since vacated. The cyborg Johnny Mnemonic allies with the cyborg dolphin, his bodyguard and with a cyber-punk community in the creation of a cyborg complex to their mutual, but diverse, advantage. Saddam Hussein vies with the Western Powers like two magicians in a computer game, hurling illusions at each other (and themselves). My own experiences at dinner parties and meetings can also be described in very much the same terms.

The list of partners in the ACT UP coalition begs rather than answers questions, specifically, what are the principles of recognition and selection that are employed in the construction of such a list? What is it that enables condoms, dancers, and government bureaucracies to be included in the same list? Clearly, my own question is vulnerable to the same deconstructive strategies that Haraway applies in other directions; but that doesn't stop me wanting an answer. As long as Haraway is actively engaging in the political action that she is associating with the ACT UP coalition, it is probably correct to say that complying with my request would be counterproductive to her project. It would be to solidify that which she needs to constitute as fluid. However, she provides this list in the context of a paper, the purpose of which:
... is to write theory, ie, to produce a patterned vision of how to move and what to fear in the topography of an impossible but all-too-real present, in order to find an absent, but perhaps possible, other present. I do not seek the address of some full presence; reluctantly, I know better. Like Christian in Pilgrim's Progress, however, I am committed to skirting the slough of despond and the parasite-infested swamps of nowhere to reach more salubrious environs. The theory is meant to orient, to provide the roughest sketch for travel, by means of moving within and through a relentless artifactualism, which forbids any direct si(gh)tings of nature, to a science fictional, speculative factual, SF place called, simply, elsewhere.
(ibid; p. 295)
But the absence lies as much in the promised theory-however vague-as in the promises of the monsters-the 'elsewhere'-that Haraway introduces. As is not uncommon in postmodern[5] writing, the intertextual plenitude of the literary style, as much as it is pleasurable, is itself simulacral. It is also frequently contradictory. This is nowhere more apparent than in the finale of 'A Cyborg Manifesto':
This is a dream not of a common language, but of a powerful infidel heteroglossia. It is an imagination of a feminist speaking in tongues to strike fear into the circuits of the super-savers of the new right. It means both building and destroying machines, identities, categories, relationships, space stories. Though both are bound in the spiral dance, I would rather be a cyborg than a goddess.
(Haraway, 1991; p. 181)
'Heteroglossia' recalls, perhaps, the sign as a site of struggle (Volosinov, 1973) and the novel as a genre which admits counter-authorial voices (Bakhtin, 1981, 1986). To this extent, 'infidel' is pleonastic other than as an adumbration of the second religious metaphor. 'Speaking in tongues', if true to its New Testament origins (but then, fathers are inessential), might refer more appropriately to monoglossia: a single voice (of god), in this case, multiply realised.

Haraway steps in where Baudrillard will not tread. She promises a theory of 'progressive' political action. She rejects essentialist strategies as denying the diverse and contradictory specificities of experience. But in exchange, she offers us no more than we already do. Haraway replaces Baudrillard's subject/non-subject constituted by cynicism (or faith) with what is effectively a Foucauldian subject constituted by power-and 'in Foucault power takes the place of desire' (Baudrillard, 1987)-albeit dispersed in the web. This is necessary in order to generate a 'progressive' politics. The displacement of power is to be achieved through the articulation of subjectivities constituted within the web, the production of cyborgs. Such articulations disrupt the free flow of information and hence the free play of power. This will effect transformation, but the transformation can only be the substitution of one 'psychotic' state by another because the eradication of power would constitute the eradication of the subject. Power in Haraway/Foucault is no more subject to analysis than cynicism or faith: to claim that power constitutes the subject is to do no more than to assert a faith that the subject is constituted. The hyperreal is only a program which can be written with varying degrees of complexity; it needs a god to breathe life into it.

Baudrillard's success lies in his refusal to engage in reconstructive theory. Haraway's failure lies in her attempt to outdo both the moderns and the postmoderns: to deconstruct progressively. In the next section of this paper I want to return to construction. This is a kind of construction which does not incorporate either its constructor or its potential user as a part of its infrastructure. This being the case, I see no need to apologise for the claim that my theoretical resources are doing somewhat more work than Griemas' 'clackety structuralist' 'engine' in Haraway (1993).

3. The Ascension of subjectivity

Since Wittgenstein (1958), at least, it has been trivial to argue that we cannot grasp the uses of language within language itself. Texts are always, to a greater or lesser extent, dependent upon the immediate context of their production-the form of life, we might say-within which they are written (and reading is always, in this sense, writing). We may (again trivially) go further and note that there are many practices which are elaborated with minimal explicit organisation within language: gait[6], for example and pottery[7]. There again, there are other practices which are far less context-dependent. These are texts that enter into discursive relations with other texts. Within the context of academic production, for example, the collection of journals and books published within a field might be interpreted as a space within which texts interact with each other-scriberspace. This public interrogation of texts constitutes an organising within language which is or which can be made more or less explicit. Practices vary, in other words, according to the extent to which they are saturated by discursive regularity. In general terms, we can say that manual practices exhibit low 'discursive saturation' and intellectual practices exhibit high 'discursive saturation' [8].

Within the general field of manual practices, described in these terms, we can propose a distinction. On the one hand, there are those practices which are acquired informally. In contemporary societies, these include everyday domestic practices, such as shopping, cooking, gardening, and so forth. The social structuring of these practices is segmental. That is, the division of labour is simple, generally being organised in terms of the patriarchal family relations of gender and age (and class, where domestic labour is waged). The organisation of this region of the sociocultural space may be described as being closer to mechanical than to organic solidarity, in Durkheim's terms (1984)[9]. In general, there is no formal organisation of pedagogy with respect to these practices which are acquired via a sharing of strategies. In this mode, the principles of evaluation of the practices reside with the acquirer rather than, or at least as much as, with the transmitter. The structure of social relationships within this mode of acquisition can be described as horizontal (other than in respect of age). Other practices in this sphere include those relating to care of the self and sexual behaviours as well as illicit practices.

Within the same societies[10], other manual practices are elaborated within the context of a more complex division of labour. That is, these practices constitute regions of specialisation within the sociocultural. The acquisition of these practices is associated with more or less formally organised pedagogy, often through craft apprenticeship. This will entail what Lave and Wenger (1991) have described as 'legitimate peripheral participation'. Singleton (1989), for example, describes the process of apprenticeship in a Japanese mingei pottery. For my purposes, the crucial feature is the tacit nature of much of the pedagogic action. The apprentice potter watches, copies, and has their work rejected and (eventually) accepted with very little discursive elaboration. Certainly, the process of acquisition within an apprenticeship will include the informal mode whereby strategies are shared within a horizontal structure, for example, between apprentices. Nevertheless, acquisition always takes place within the context of the formally hierarchical, or vertical, social relationship of adept/apprentice; the principles of evaluation reside with the adept.

The development of these craft practices constitutes an internal hierarchy, that is, between the adept and the apprentice. This is a career hierarchy. In this sense, it is similar to hierarchies associated with age in the patriarchal family, but distinct from gender relations, which are not resolved via career development. However, craft practices also inaugurate an external hierarchy in relation to domestic production and reproduction. This is because there is no selection with respect to domestic practices. Everyone engages in them, but there is no selection and no formal pedagogy in respect of their acquisition. Craft specialisation constitutes regions of manual practice as esoteric The entry into these esoteric practices involves a more or less extended period of apprenticeship. In the course of the apprenticeship and in subsequent adept production, the subject is required to instantiate aspects of what is, within a manual craft, a tacitly regulated practice. These instantiations, then, are simulated by the craft; they are simulacra. What they achieve is the illusion of skill.

In his study involving becoming an apprentice to a Kenyan Tugen blacksmith, Michael Coy (1989) indexes two kinds of 'insight':
... those relating to technology, and those relating to the smith's social relations. Within the rubric of social relations I would include those aspects of the smith's craft that are supernatural. The supernatural activities of smiths are either services performed for their community, as in the curse applied to thieves, or they are protective and defensive in nature. In either case, these supernatural activities are directly related to the smith's relationships with others in his community.
(Coy, 1989; p. 121)
The curse denies the thief access to the tools that the smith produces and which are needed for subsistence agriculture. Various devices ensure that only a smith is able to produce these tools and that the smith's services are regularly required. For example, the bellows, which are essential to the smith's work can be made only with access to the smith's technology; a set of smith's tools, including the bellows, are manufactured by the smith and presented to the apprentice upon completion of the apprenticeship. The axe used for cutting the hot steel is the only tool that is quenched. Unquenched steel is brittle. Thus the only smiths' products that are available to non-smiths break very quickly.

The Tugen blacksmith is thus established as an initiate into an esoteric practice. Their skills and their goodwill are constituted as essential components of the economy. Yet Coy's apprenticeship lasted only three months. Undoubtedly, he spent far longer than this learning to use a knife and fork at the dinner table and longer still learning to communicate in spoken English. These facilities are privately acquired, but they are privately acquired by everybody. Their public display does no more than affirm this. The blacksmith's tacitly regulated practice, by contrast, is acquired secretly. Its public displays, however, do not represent something acquired. This is because that which is acquired is-in respect of both technological issues and social relations-concerned primarily with the maintenance of the specialism, which is to say, with the reproduction of the division of labour. The use of cutlery and the nature of one's spoken English may also incorporate markers of social class and ethnicity. To this extent, the public display of both craft and quotidian practices constitute simulacra. Their function is to conceal an absence. The public display of craft practices conceals the absence of 'skill'. The public display of etiquette and accent conceals the absence of 'breeding'.

I have described both quotidian and craft practices as 'manual', that is, they exhibit low discursive saturation. I have contrasted such practices with others which exhibit high discursive saturation, that is, practices which are commonly described as 'intellectual'. Alfred Sohn-Rethel (1978) associates the division between intellectual and manual labour with class society. This association is valid, at least in part, if we can refer to the opening up of an 'intellectual' sphere of practice as an organising of manual practices which operates at a higher level than the simple marking out of areas of specialisation such that the hierarchy is not resolved by career. With respect to material production, for example, the 'intellectual' practices associated with management and with engineering may be described as an objectification and organisation of the 'manual' practices of production. Private sphere 'manual' practices associated with the care of the self are objectified and organised by the 'intellectual' practices associated with medical knowledge. The intellectual practices codify the manual practices which are abstracted into systems of knowledge which are substantially self-referential, which is to say, which are far less context-dependent in their elaboration. These high discursive saturation practices organise, but-by virtue of their context-independence-cannot facilitate the manual practices. The hierarchy which is established is, of necessity, a splitting-off of the intellectual from the manual. The relations between these practices are, therefore, more like gender than age, which is to say, they are 'class' rather than career relations.

The splitting is illustrated in the codification of manual domestic practices by the intellectual practice of school mathematics. Jean Lave (1988), for example, has illustrated the ways in which decision-making in domestic shopping is resolved in situ by making use of resources which are at hand. School mathematics, by contrast, constitutes shopping decisions as resolvable via the codification of data within mathematical formulae relating, for example, to ratio and proportion (see Dowling, 1995a, 1995c). Neither shopping nor mathematics facilitate the elaboration of the other. A decision taken in a supermarket is no more than that, unless and until it is codified by an anthropologist or a mathematics teacher. A 'best buy' problem in a school mathematics text book simulates mathematical knowledge.

Intellectual practices associated with the production of the mass media (management, engineering, journalism, etc) and with governance (the law, statistics) facilitate the codification and dissemination of illicit behaviour. Thus a violent assault on a woman by a stranger is sublimated from a unique event within a community to an instance of a practice which is thereby reified. The intellectual extends the effectivity of patriarchy by establishing a fear of rape. In the UK, at least, it is men who are overwhelmingly the victims as well as the perpetrators of violent assault by strangers, yet it is women who are deterred from going out at night unless accompanied by a man. The rape is a unique event. Its codifications do not so much represent it as simulate a crime.

Intellectual practices are facilitated, in the first instance, by the technologies of literacy. It is literacy that, for Luria (1976), indexes the transition from 'primitive' societies structured by individualised production to 'modern' societies organised on the basis of collective production. Luria associates the acquisition of literacy with the development of higher forms of reasoning. Sohn-Rethel makes a similar (though more politically charged) opposition:
When we distinguished 'societies of production' and 'societies of appropriation' we made the point that on the basis of primitive communal modes of production, as they preceded commodity production, the social practice was rational but the theory was irrational (mythological and anthropomorphic), while on the basis of commodity production the relation was reversed; namely, the social practice has turned irrational (out of man's control) but his mode of thinking has assumed rational forms.
(Sohn-Rethel, 1978; p. 133)
It is my contention, however, that intellectual practices do not produce rationality. Rather, intellectual practices in general simulate rationality, or rather, simulate knowledge. That is, their products are simulacra the function of which is to conceal the absence of knowledge.

At this point, I should note that manual and intellectual practices share this in common: they are, of necessity, both embodied. This is to say, their elaboration is dependent upon acquisition within formal or informal contexts. We might conjecture that the more specialised the practice the more extensive and intensive will be the process of apprenticeship that facilitates access to it. This is, at lease in part, what 'specialisation means. However, the spread of intellectual practices which codify and organise the manual must constitute a diminution of the specialisation of manual practices. This is nowhere more clear than in the development of European industrialisation in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The ultimate 'achievement' of 'scientific management', for example, is the elimination of manual skills (see Braverman, 1974). However, to the extent that these skills are appropriately described as simulated by the manual practices with which they are associated, the development of the intellectual practices of 'scientific management' constitutes not the elimination of skill, but its elevation to a higher level of abstraction. That is, the intellectual practices constitute the new principal site for the production of simulacra.

Thus far, I have described three levels of practice. The quotidian are low discursive saturation, which is to say, manual practices, acquired informally and frequently within a horizontal structure of relationships. Craft practices are manual practices within a more complex or organised division of labour. Craft practices are generally acquired within a vertical, career structure of relations. Moving between a quotidian site and a craft site entails an increase in the level of disciplining of practices. The exhibition of disciplined craft practices simulates that which can never reconcile the multiplicity of instances. This is the absence which lies at the heart of craft practices, the absence of skill. Clearly, subjectivity does not reside within the elaboration of regulated practices; it must be located elsewhere. I want to suggest that subjectivity is to be found in the constitution of challenges to skill through original moves and combinations: subjectivity resides in virtuoso, which is to say, original (but not random) performances.

The third level of practice is at a high level of discursive saturation. These intellectual practices codify the manual within discursive regularities. Intellectual practices are acquired, again, within the context of vertical structures of relations which may or may not constitute career[11], but they establish a splitting from manual practices. The manual practices are codified by the intellectual, rendering them subject to disassembly and reassembly in managerial conformity. This is the denaturing of the labour process described so effectively by Braverman (1974). The introduction of the production line machine signifies a higher order of organisation of the labour process. The division of labour becomes more complex and hierarchical, but its embodiment becomes simpler and more segmental. Original moves and combinations are ruled out at the level of the manual because their possibility is precodified discursively. Manual subjectivity is eliminated in precisely the same way as war is eliminated in the apparatuses of deterrence and choice is eliminated in the apparatuses of democracy. The elaboration of discursive regularities constitutes the simulation of rationality or of discipline, in the sense of an academic discipline. Subjective intellectual virtuosity is now precisely a challenge to this absent rationality. Subjectivity/virtuosity has been elevated from the manual to the intellectual.

We can now move to a fourth level of practice. This is the level at which intellectual practices are themselves subject to a higher degree of organisation, that is, cybernetic practices. Barlow and the cyberhomesteaders constitute these practices as offering a utopian release from the material world. But cyberspace is no more virgin territory than was America prior to the European invasions. This time, however, the colonising infrastructure is already substantially in place. Barlow is not a pioneer, so much as an immigrant. Barlow can post his message to discussion lists and I can post this paper on the world wide web only because we have access to the internet which is materially constituted and so is subject to the economics of appropriation and exploitation.

For affluent intellectuals information technology looks very much like a set of tools which we can grasp in facilitating and expanding our activities. But this is because we are in a transitional phase. Intellectual practices still dominate or, at least, are still tolerated in certain domains. I am still paid to engage in intellectual labour and my technology is provided free. But not, perhaps, for very much longer. Increasingly, my work as an academic is being called to economic account. Funded research is taking over from personal research in the social sciences and research by competitive tendering-essentially, market 'research'-is becoming more common. Higher degree courses are modularised their contents tailored to meet the requirements of the market which is becoming increasingly global. Infinite access to information within an economics of appropriation entails the automation of intellectual practices. Intellectual products, like manual products, are beginning to be corporately generated. The CD-ROM encyclopaedia presents a transparent certainty which anticipates and excludes the possibility of intellectual virtuosity. The game is no longer conceptual, but navigational.

Cybernetic practices operate at an even greater degree of context-independence. CD-ROMs and internet journals only transitionally stand in the place of the contents of a traditional library. This is not simply a matter of commodification, the products of intellectual labour were commodified a long time ago. Cybernetic virtuosity is not concerned with these products themselves, but with the modality of their encoding, with the subordination of potentially all areas of human practice to a single code. Haraway perceives a parallel development:
... communications sciences and modern biologies are constructed by a common move-the translation of the world into a problem of coding, a search for a common language in which all resistance to instrumental control disappears and all heterogeneity can be submitted to disassembly, reassembly, investment and exchange.
(Haraway, 1991; p. 164)
The binary coding of the digital computer is perhaps more radical than the highly complex codes of the double helical DNA molecule, but the move is, indeed, the same. All information must be numerically realisable; the minutest variations in life must be traceable to a genetic site. Cognitive science begins to make the same move with respect to psychology. Chaos theory returns us to the security of a universe operating according to simple laws[12]. We are, perhaps, only just beginning to appreciate that the productions of these fields are simulating a yet higher order of absence, a mathematical code which, ultimately, organises all fields of practice.

Each instance of the cybernetic encoding of intellectual or manual practice is a simulacrum the function of which is to conceal the absence of a universal rationality. This is the rationality which facilitates the perfect flow of information, which eliminates the hysteresis through which power enters, transforming the game into reality. This is the rationality that is enshrined in the military cipher C3I, referred to by Donna Haraway (1991)[13]. This is the rationality that Jean Piaget (1995) constitutes as the mathematical utopia of equilibrium which awaits us at the perpetually deferred end of the process of equilibration. This is the rationality that Jürgen Habermas (1979) constitutes as the linguistic utopia which awaits us at the perpetually deferred end of praxis. The military dream constitutes an external 'control' as the operator of the system. The liberal, Piaget, imagines an absence of power as, strangely, does the marxist, Habermas.

The military dream clearly does not theorise the subject, it merely externalises it. Cyberspace becomes a tool-perhaps a weapon-to be wielded by this externalised subject. Piaget produces a liberal reading of Marx whereby constraint is not constitutive of subjectivity, but is an impediment to social equilibration. Constraint is thus constructed as a primitive feature and its replacement by cooperation is a prerequisite for social and intellectual advancement. Habermas was influenced by Piaget's work on moral development (1932) and by the recontextualising of Piaget's work by Lawrence Kohlberg (1981). Habermas was also influenced by the work of Sigmund Freud. Arguably, Habermas' interpretation of Freud was analogous to Piaget's interpretation of Marx. That is, Habermas' understanding of repression was as a pathological state rather than as that which constitutes the subject[14]. Thus emancipatory action is directed towards the elimination of repression which, in a more conventional interpretation of Freud, must effect the elimination of the subject. As I have argued, Haraway reinserts a dispersed version of Foucauldian power into what would otherwise look like a Baudrillardian self-referential system. Baudrillard, himself, effectively externalises the cynical subject, much as the military dream externalises the Prince and the gospel of St Matthew externalises God. These positions align as alternative states. Whether by externalising or internalising it, St Matthew, Marx, Freud, Foucault, Baudrillard and Haraway claim faith in the subject, which is to say, in power; Piaget and Habermas constitute power as artifactual and so as capable of being eliminated. Power is on or power is off; either way, it animates the system, transforming the game into something rather serious or transforming utopia into the real world.

Subjectivity is here in the Microsoft ad and in O'Donnell's 'New Tools for Teaching'. Subjectivity is Barlow's wish in the utopian future of cyberspace or a bereavement in the technological expulsion from Gibson's eden. Subjectivity is present and therefore not analysable in Baudrillard's cynicism of the present. Subjectivity is absent in Piaget's equilibrium of the future. All reduced to states of the same system.

To recapitulate The Ascension. I have described four modes of social practice which relate to each other as levels of abstraction. The specialisation of manual practices constitutes a verticalising of pedagogic relations in careers. This marks craft practices from the quotidian. The elaboration of the craft constitutes simulacra of skill. subjectivity/virtuosity is displayed in challenging these simulacra to reveal the absent skill. The higher level of organisation of manual practices constitutes the intellectual. The context-independent/context-dependent opposition established between intellectual and manual practices entails that they stand in a class relationship each other. Where intellectual practices directly impose an organisation upon craft practices, the latter are routinised and codified. Subjectivity/virtuosity within the manual class is no longer possible and has moved up into the intellectual sphere; skill is elevated to knowledge as that which is now simulated and that which is challenged by intellectual virtuosity, such as Baudrillard's.

Finally, the cybernetic organisation of the intellectual elevates knowledge to universal rationality as the absence which is simulated. Subjectivity/virtuosity is now displayed in the challenge to this rationality to reveal itself. This subjectivity must be asserted or denied but cannot be grasped in either its presence or its absence. It has progressed from manual to intellectual to cybernetic practices in its upward moves, in ever increasing levels of abstraction, to be finally revealed as the binary code of electronic communications: zero/one; yes/no; on/off. Who decides? Who throws the switch?

4. Technology and the production of the social unconscious[15]

There are at least two difficulties with the description as formulated. Firstly, we remain in a state of arbitrariness, not only with respect to faith or non-faith, but with respect to the object of the faith/non-faith. Ultimately, there is no avoiding the infinite regress. Nevertheless, we can, at least, provide a name for out god/non-god. Such name should serve to unify our field of enquiry: to choose between Baudrillard or Piaget or to generate an alternative coherent theory. Secondly, The Ascension, as formulated, is clearly evolutionary. Even without ascribing ontological significance to any characterisation of non-cybernetic societies, such characterisings must of necessity constitute ascriptions of relative primitivity. As usual, the domestic community ends up at the lowest point of the hierarchy. This is precisely the difficulty with positions such as that adopted by Vygotsky (1986) and Luria (1976). Unfortunately, the alternative position taken by writers from Herder to Franz Boas and his students, generates a new set of difficulties associated with cultural isolationism, Nazism, apartheid, and so on. In this section, I want to draw on the psychoanalytic writing of Ignacio Matte-Blanco (1988; see also Rayner, 1995) in order to address these difficulties. The proposition that I shall advance is that social activity and its realisation in technology can be interpreted as an attempt to establish a social unconscious. The motivation for the social unconscious is the resolution of what Matte-Blanco describes as the 'fundamental antinomy of human beings and the world'.

I shall start with an illustrative narrative, as follows: a schizophrenic is bitten by a dog and so visits a dentist[16]. Such an action is clearly not to be resolved using conventional logic. An initial attempt to make sense of the narrative might constitute a chain of metonyms as follows: dog-bite, teeth, dentist. This would enable the narrative to be interpreted in terms of a displacement, but it would not explain the principles of selection of the particular metonyms involved. Suppose, however, that we make an assumption that the unconscious operates according to an alternative logic. In particular, we might assume that, whereas the conscious operates according to a logic which distinguishes between asymmetrical and symmetrical relations, the unconscious operates, at least in part, on the basis of symmetrical relations only. Thus, 'dog bites person' is an asymmetrical relation, because it does not imply that 'person bites dog'. The symmetrising unconscious, however, would interpret these two statements as equivalent. The narrative can now be interpreted as follows. The dog bites the schizophrenic. This event is interpreted as equivalent to the schizophrenic biting the dog by her/his unconscious. The dog-bite causes pain, but this is now interpretable as the act of biting by the person themselves causes pain. This provides entirely adequate grounds for the visit to the dentist that concludes the narrative.

The schizophrenic of the narrative can be interpreted as acting according to two modes of logic: asymmetric and symmetric. Her/his action can be described as an alternating sequence of these logics; it is 'bi-logical'. Matte-Blanco proposes that the very deepest level of the unconscious does not operate according to differentiation at all. In this sense, there is no thinking, only being. Asymmetric relations are inaugurated by the earliest encounters of this original state with the world; specifically, the breast may be offered (good) or withdrawn (bad). At the deep levels of the unconscious, symmetric logic identifies the good breast with every member of the class of things which are good and the bad breast with every member of the class of things which can be bad. Since these are potentially infinite classes, symmetrising here constitutes an infinitised polarisation of pleasure and discomfort. This identification of a member of a class with every member of the class entails that the unconscious operates in propositional form. That is, the perception that mother is happy results in the association of mother with every member of the class of things that can be happy. Thus, 'mother is happy' is transformed into 'x is happy', which is to say, 'there is happiness'. This, again, is a state of being which contrasts with the state of happening which characterises the differentiating action of consciousness.

Because the class, in the unconscious, is represented simultaneously by many and potentially infinite elements, the mode of operation of the unconscious can be described as multi-dimensional. Matte-Blanco argues that consciousness must conform to a four-dimensional (three dimensions of displacement plus time) world. There is, thus a 'fundamental antinomy' between the original, which is to say, unconscious human being and their worldly consciousness.

Matte-Blanco makes a great deal of use of mathematical resources to describe this fundamental antinomy. However, it may be more appropriate to interpret mathematics itself as a technological means of resolving the antinomy which can be described in simpler terms. Essentially, the original human is constituted as an unconscious being. This being emerges into a world which is populated by other beings, interactions between which of necessity disrupt the symmetry of being with asymmetrical thinking. The conscious human subject is constituted through the repression of the unconscious human being.

The social is necessarily agonistic. The existence of social solidarity in the face of an antagonistic social milieu is, of course, is precisely the problem that Durkheim (1984) attempted to resolve in The Division of Labour in Society. Durkheim's mechanical solidarity is constituted by a collective social consciousness. However, to the extent that this consciousness can be contained within the consciousness of individuals, it cannot resolve the antinomy with being. Rather than constituting social consciousness, I want to suggest that we can describe all social action as leading towards the constitution of a social unconscious, that is, of technological forms which are capable of containing the symmetric, multidimensionality of the individual unconscious which is repressed by the very nature of the agonistic social in the constitution of the conscious subject.

It is now possible to regard the ascension of subjectivity which I have described in the previous section of this paper as progress towards such a social unconscious. The ultimate binary code of cybernetic practice corresponds to the good/bad polarisation of the unconscious. Being both binary states of single potentials, they both resolve to singularities: the individual unconscious being and the social unconscious being. Between these two extremes of unconscious reside the various levels of individual/social subjectivity, which is to say, practice which can, to a greater or lesser extent be contained within consciousness. This subjectivity is now antinomical to both poles of individual and social being. The subsequent practice of this subjectivity is, perhaps, appropriately described as moving between two therapeutic states: psychoanalysis and socioanalysis. This enables the constitution of a coherent theory, which was the first difficulty referred to above.

The second difficulty concerned the dichotomy of social evolutionism and cultural isolationism on which social theories have a tendency to founder. The Ascension theory is one of social evolutionism. Pre-intellectual and, now, pre-cybernetic societies are constituted as relatively primitive. However, the construction of such societies as comparatively simple should now be interpreted as jealous attributions of a higher state of development in that simple and so stable societies can be presumed to be closer to the ultimate achievement of a social unconscious. This is an inversion of the more familiar hierarchy of social evolutionism. Furthermore, this does not lead to the alternative evil of cultural isolationism and apartheid. This is because once subjectivity has been established, the antinomy can be resolved only by the constitution of the social unconscious. This applies whether the new subject is an individual or a social subject. The colonial subject has constructed an unconscious other and generated an other as subject. There is no return to eden. Utopia may be other than we desire. We are now all caught in a global construction programme in the ascension to the technological social unconscious.

Paul Dowling
send email:
See also:

DOWLING, P.C. & BROWN, A.J., 1996, 'Pedagogy & Community in three South African Schools: a classroom study', presented at Research into Social Perspectives in Mathematics Education, 13th June 1996


1. Internet address:
2. Though not the movie, if we are to believe the critics (see, for example, Dave Green in The Guardian Weekend, March 2 1996).
3. The reference is to Lévi-Strauss (1972).
4. Hebdige (1979).
5. Having read Bruno Latour in between the writing of the two papers cited here, Haraway eschews this term in favour of 'amodern'.
6. See, for example, Mauss's (1979).
7. See Singleton (1989) and the discussion in Dowling (1995a, 1995b, 1995d).
8. See the discussion in Dowling (1995c, 1995d)
9. See the discussion in Bernstein (1996) from whom the horizontal/vertical opposition is taken. See also Dowling (1995d).
10. Durkheim (1984) attempts to characterise societies in terms of mechanical and organic solidarity. In his use of Durkheim, Bernstein has described societies as hybrid. Bernstein (for example, 1977) describes different class locations in terms of different modes of solidarity. Johan Müller of the University of Cape Town (personal communication) has been suggested that this effects an importing of Durkheim's evolutionary model of society into the description of contemporary society so that social class is aligned with social development. This is at least arguably the case and clearly has serious implications especially in relation to a society in which, for historical reasons, racial hierarchies are closely aligned with social class. In the present paper, however, 'development' refers to the mode of establishing and maintaining social relations which is not to be evaluated positively or negatively.
11. In the university, for example, the relations established between the professor and her/his undergraduate students is only, in part, a career relation. This is because the pedagogy entails selection; only a small number of undergraduates will become professors. Others are more appropriately described as being in a relay relation (see Dowling, 1995a).
12. Cognitive science involves the construction of computer models of mind. Chaos theory proposes that a simple system is capable of generating chaotic behaviour. See Gleick (1988) for a non-technical exposition on chaos theory.
13. C3I: Command, Control, Communication, Intelligence.
14. See the discussion in Elliott (1992).
15. This paper originally finished at the end of section 3, section 4 having been added shortly before the paper was actually presented. Although necessary minor modification were made to the introduction, this addition has necessarily reduced the overall coherence of the paper. Since the developments in section 4 are very much in the speculative phase, however, I have decided to leave this version of the paper in the form in which it was presented, rather than delay its availability unduly. A more fully developed version will form the basis of a forthcoming publication.
16. My comments on and interpretation of this narrative are not those offered by Matte-Blanco, who introduces the narrative in the work cited. In particular, his interpretation is far more complex and, presumably, more apposite within the context of clinical psychoanalysis. Nevertheless, I am asserting that my analysis serves more efficiently to illustrate the central feature of Matte-Blanco's theory that I am introducing and, furthermore, is entirely consistent with it.


BAKHTIN, M.M., 1981, The Dialogic Imagination, ed. Michael Holquist, Austin: University of Texas Press

BAKHTIN, M.M., 1986, Speech Genres and Other Late Essays, ed. Caryl Emerson & Michael Holquist, Austin: University of Texas Press

BAUDRILLARD, J., 1987, Forget Foucault, New York: Semiotext(e)

BAUDRILLARD, J., 1993, Symbolic Exchange and Death, London: Sage

BAUDRILLARD, J., 1995, The Gulf War did not take place, Sydney: Power

BERNSTEIN, B., 1996, Pedagogy, Symbolic Control and Identity: theory, research and critique, London: Taylor & Francis

BRAVERMAN, H., 1974, Labor and Monopoly Capital: the degradation of work in the twentieth century, New York: Monthly Review Press

CHADLER, D., 1996, 'Shaping and Being Shaped', Computer Mediated Communication Magazine, 3, 2, at

CHISLENKO, A., 1996, 'FWD: A Cyberspace Independence Declaration' at

COY, M.W., 1989, 'Being What We Pretend To Be: the usefulness of apprenticeship as a field method', in Apprenticeship: from theory to method and back again, Albany: State University of New York Press

DOWLING, P.C., 1991, 'The Dialectics of Determinism: deconstructing information technology', in Beynon, J., Young, M.F.D. & McKay, H. (eds), Understanding Technology, Basingstoke: Falmer

DOWLING, P.C., 1995a, 'Against Utility in Mathematics and Research: a voice from the Twilight Zone', plenary address at the annual conference of the Southern African Association for Research in Mathematics and Science Education, University of Cape Town, January 1995, proceedings

DOWLING, P.C., 1995b, 'Juggling Pots and Texts: reflections on self-instruction, apprenticeship and teaching', Plenary address to the Primary Mathematics Project 2nd Annual Conference, Bellville College of Education, Kuilsrivier, South Africa, April 1995, proceedings

DOWLING, P.C., 1995c, 'A Language for the Sociological Description of Pedagogic Texts with Particular Reference to the Secondary School Mathematics Scheme SMP 11-16', Collected Original Resources in Education, 19

DOWLING, P.C., 1995d, 'Discipline and Mathematise: the myth of relevance in education', Perspectives in Education, 16, 2

DURKHEIM, É., 1984, The Division of Labour in Society, Basingstoke: MacMillan

ELLIOTT, A., 1992, Social Theory and Psychoanalysis in Transition: self and society from Freud to Kristeva, Oxford: Blackwell

GIBSON, W., 1986, 'Johnny Mnemonic' in Burning Chrome and Other Stories, London: Harper Collins

GLEICK, J., 1988, Chaos: making a new science, London: Heinemann

HABERMAS, J., 1979, Communication and the Evolution of Society, London: Heinemann

HARAWAY, D.J., 1991, 'A Cyborg Manifesto: science, technology, and socialist-feminism in the late twentieth century' in Simians, Cyborgs and Women: the reinvention of nature, London: Free Association Books

HARAWAY, D.J., 1992, 'The Promises of Monsters: a regenerative politics for inappropriate/d others' in Grossber, L., Nelson, C. & Treichler, P. (eds), Cultural Studies, London: Routledge

HEBDIGE, D., 1979, Subculture: the meaning of style, London: Methuen

KOHLBERG, L., 1981, The Philosophy of Moral Development: moral stages and the idea of justice, San Francisco: Harper & Row

LAVE, J., 1988, Cognition in Practice: mind, mathematics and culture in everyday life, Cambridge: CUP

LAVE, J. & WENGER, E., 1991, Situated Learning: legitimate peripheral participation, Cambridge: CUP

LÉVI-STRAUSS, C., 1972, The Savage Mind (La Pensée Sauvage), London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson

LURIA, A.R., 1976, Cognitive Development: its cultural and social foundations, Cambridge: Harvard University Press

MATTE-BLANCO, I., 1988, Thinking, Feeling, nd Being: clinical reflections on the fundamental antinomy of human beings and the world, London: Routledge

MAUSS, M., 1979, Sociology and Psychology: essays, London: RKP

O'DONNELL, J.J., nd, 'New Tools for Teaching' at

PIAGET, J., 1932, The Moral Judgement of the Child, London: RKP

PIAGET, J., 1995, Sociological Studies, London: Routledge

RAYNER, E., 1995, Unconscious Logic: and introduction to Matte Blanco's bi-logic and its uses, London: Routledge

SINGLETON, J., 1989, 'Japanese Folkcraft Pottery Apprenticeship: cultural patterns of an educational institution' in M. Coy (ed), Apprenticeship: from theory to method and back again, Albany: State University of New York Press

SOHN-RETHEL, A., 1978, Intellectual and Manual Labour: a critique of epistemology, London: Macmillan

VOLOSINOV, V.N., 1973, Marxism and the Philosophy of Language, New York: Seminar Press

WITTGENSTEIN, L., 1958, Philosophical Investigations, Oxford: Blackwell