Research

The Will to Enclose: Foucault's Archive in the Era of Cold War Big Data

Author: Jason Pribilsky (Whitman College)

  • The Will to Enclose: Foucault's Archive in the Era of Cold War Big Data

    Research

    The Will to Enclose: Foucault's Archive in the Era of Cold War Big Data

    Author:

Abstract

This article explores Foucault's concept of the archive within the context of archival practices emanating during the early Cold War. This period witnessed the feverish acquisition of "big data" (cross-cultural surveys, databases, etc.) as well as the technological innovations to facilitate it (computer punch cards, cybernetic networks), in service of revealing key factors and drivers that would lead all so-called "backwards peoples" through universal phases of modernization. As Foucault's thinking on the archive was taking shape, the global behavioral sciences were compiling the archives that would produce compelling understanding of human's true nature, considering everything from competitiveness to creativity to economic outlook. How can Foucault's concerns about the archive be read within the context of the early Cold War and the globalizing behavioral sciences?

Keywords: archive, big data, cold war, cybernetics, foucault, lévi-strauss, structuralism

How to Cite: Pribilsky, J. (2016). The Will to Enclose: Foucault's Archive in the Era of Cold War Big Data. Le Foucaldien, 2(1), 1. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/lefou.11

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Published on
05 Jan 2016
Peer Reviewed