Digital Capitalism, Governance Formations and Disciplinary Apparatuses

Empire State, June 23, 2009 | © Courtesy of Louiseana Borges/Flickr.
Empire State, June 23, 2009 | © Courtesy of Louiseana Borges/Flickr.

The monograph Capital, State, Empire (Timcke, 2018) discusses the devastation in American social lifestyles, the coercive security apparatus and the capital regulations imposed on US residents. As Scott Timcke (2018) argues, various security projects have blurred the lines between foreign and domestic populations, thereby eroding civil liberties.

A Review Article by Pablo Markin.

According to Scott Timcke (2018), presently the security apparatuses of the United States (US) are dramatically reconfiguring through the deployment of digital coercion. The latter refers to the numerous strategies facilitated through virtual technologies. This research on these technologies illustrates how the equipment of governance is developed for the state to manage subjects on an unprecedented scale and scope. As this book explores, the emerging constellation of digital coercive practices is crucial to contemporary capitalism and its relationships.

This involves minimal democratic oversight, computationally aided global surveillance, a repression of vulnerable populations, and protracted conflicts abroad. As Scott Timcke (2018) suggests, the amassing of capital entails dispossession, extraction, and exploitation amplified via digital coercion in the framework of state security apparatuses. For instance, the US Department of Defense (DoD), with upwards of 3 million service members and near 750,000 civilians, is one of the world’s largest employers and the biggest single organization in the US (Timcke, 2018). With a yearly budget of around six hundred billion USD in 2015, the DoD is one of the largest economic and bureaucratic agents as well.

This ebook, thus, investigates the relationships between capital, digital media and military apparatuses through a focus on how a capitalist country creates structural injustices, stratifications, and inequalities. This treatment of intense extraction and exploitation, as part of creating capital surpluses, explores the interrelations of these processes with indirect and informal rule and capital accumulation.

This book also questions the ways in which capitalism is produced and reproduced in the US through its focus on domestic and worldwide affairs. Timcke (2018), thereby, offers a materialist critique of the virtual society, while paying attention to the diverse components of virtual rule such as novel labour regimes.  In this context, this author also discusses a historical narrative of US state formation to address selected aspects of state theory.

Drawing upon its evaluation of recent US navy budgets, this author examines how digital technologies like automated deadly robotics consisting of drones and surveillance allow for growing force projection and the administration of zones of violence and zones of pacification. This book, likewise, touches upon current activist movements, such as Black Lives Matter, and the systems which these contest.

As the digital code conditions the opportunities of social existence, it is crucial for this book’s analysis. Given that behavioural economic calculations, big data-based bureaucratic approval processes and statistical evaluations increasingly inform algorithmic regulation, digital technologies of governance have a growing impact on labour regimes.

This allows Timcke (2018) to assess the impact of digital coercion on the labour market. This examination of digital components of the US social structure also suggests that it is likely to lead to de-democratizing social inequality, while jeopardizing basic values and diminishing prospects for human flourishing.

Written by Pablo Markin

Featured Image Credits: Empire State, June 23, 2009 | © Courtesy of Louiseana Borges/Flickr.


Timcke, Scott. Capital, State, Empire. University of Westminster Press, 2018. Accessed March 2, 2020.

Cite this article as: Pablo Markin, "Digital Capitalism, Governance Formations and Disciplinary Apparatuses," in Signs, Modes, Assemblages, March 2, 2020,

Pablo Markin

Dr. Pablo B. Markin is a Blogger at, Senior Associate Editor in Culture and Sociology at De Gruyter Open and Adjunct Professor at the University of the People.

You may also like...

Search OpenEdition Search

You will be redirected to OpenEdition Search