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Truman Show

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Television & New Media
http://tvn.sagepub.com Mapping the Culture of Control: Seeing through The Truman Show
J. McGregor Wise Television New Media 2002; 3; 29 The online version of this article can be found at: http://tvn.sagepub.com

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Wise / Culture of Control Television & New Media / February 2002

Mapping the Culture of Control
Seeing through The Truman Show
J. Macgregor Wise
Arizona State University West

“Be seeing you!”

—“The Prisoner”

This article uses a discussion of the film The Truman Show to explore a theory of everyday life in what the late Gilles Deleuze (1995) has termed a “society of control.” However, it is not simply an explication of Deleuze’s ideas; my concerns are of the cultural implications of a society of control, therefore I set out in this article to map the culture of control and to do so by seeing through The Truman Show. I use examples from the film to highlight three themes1: the rise and dominance of a regime of surveillance and control (which is different from Foucault’s [1979] description of a regime of surveillance and discipline, as I shall argue below), the explosion of product placement and the branding of everyday life, and the trust that plucky individualism will always triumph over the first two. The particular configuration of these three themes and their intersection in everyday life is formative of a particularly American version of the society of control. These themes—surveillance,...


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