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Disability, Governmentality and Social Media. Feat. MIA

08/07/2011

I’m keen to share resources for scholars in the area of social media, disability studies and education, however, these ‘resources’ are often academic papers or similar. Breaking with usual form, I’d like to introduce the opening track on MIA’s 2010 album MAYA. This song ‘The Message’ uses phrases from the traditional spiritual ‘Dem Bones’ integrating technology, corporations and governments into the connected body parts. The song is short at just under a minute, but there is plenty here for those interested in beginning discussions of biopower and governmentality in cultural studies and/or critical approaches to science and technology with students. To clarify: I’m not reproducing this with a focus on literal consipiracy. I want to highlight the ways in which our understandings of our physical selves are shaped by the quantifying aspects of technology and business, and how these shaping forces tally with with governmental (and medical and academic) projects that imbue life with statistical significance.  I’ll be publishing more in this area soon, please keep an eye on my ‘publications‘ page for more info.

I have copied and annotated the lyrics (copyright MIA) in lieu of subtitles.

The Message

[intro sound of typing on keyboard, followed by layering of abrasive sampled beats and an effects-laden vocal sample/echo that is looped throughout the song]

Connected to the Google
Connected to the government

[lead male vocal]

Headbone connected to the neckbone
Neckbone connected to the armbone
Armbone connected to the handbone
Handbone connected to the internet connected to the Google connected to the government.

[sample] Connected to the Google
Connected to the government

Headbone connects to the headphones
Headphones connect to the iPhone
iPhone connected to the internet connected to the Google connected to the government

[sample] Connected to the Google
Connected to the government

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