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Adopting the position of error: space and speculation in the exploratory significance of milieu formulations.

"The specific space of security refers then to a series of possible events; it refers to the temporal and the uncertain which have to be inserted into a given space. The space in which a series of uncertain elements unfold is, I think, roughly what one can call the

milieu" Foucault (2007, page 20)


In regard to the production of knowledge concerning both natural and social science, speculation commonly connotes improvable and 'unscientific' thinking and statements on the future. Knowledge can be degraded by its labelling as 'mere speculation' (Nyman, 2008, page 311) associated sometimes with scaremongering and diffusing unattested information throughout societies to generate concern or activity (Giddens, 2002, page 30). However, much research suggests that speculation, as a type of knowledge with specific characteristics, is increasingly embedded in actions undertaken by a host of governmental and nongovernmental organisations. The term speculation has thus been used to comment on the establishment of crime rates, for instance (Bowers et al, 2004), the security of birds (Stralberg et al, 2009), or flows of currency (O'Malley, 2009). Although discredited and treated with suspicion, speculative thinking is increasingly emergent in governmental and scientific practices which shape notions of what the future may entail as the research here shows.

How, then, can speculative thought be described? It is important to note that speculation is characterised by those facets which its detractors attribute to it. To an extent, speculation is unscientific and unprovable. In other words, speculation does not conform to established scientific criteria in sustaining its claims. This does not mean that speculation, as the above research indicates, cannot enter into the play of knowledge generated in established scientific regimes of truth. Its noncompliance with scientific rules is the defining characteristic of speculation. Speculation breaks with established scientific predicates to provide new insight, and bring rupture to, these regimes. It is in relation to this notion of epistemological breaks that speculation will be discussed in this paper.

The nature of speculation may be illuminated by a comparison with another type of analysis which makes statements on the future: prediction. Prediction is usually a term attributed to the analysis of futures reliant on empirical data which unveil or establish trends and the causal relations between trends. Predictions about crime are facilitated and sustained by quantifying its current state in 'rates' and identifying a host of variables with strong relationships to this rate. Crime rates are deemed to have strong relationships to factors like deprivation and even ethnicity. Analysis can be described as predictive in its compliance to certain criteria here. Prediction relies on the efficacy of connections to past and present trends as found in the crime rates above. These rates, moreover, facilitate prediction only if crime maintains strong relationships to deprivation and ethnicity. A system of procedures for gauging the future distribution of crime is established here, which is dependent on the consistency of relations to both population variables and the past (see Agnew, 2011).

What this established, self-referential system does is reduce the uncertainty around predictive statements (see, for instance, Kraft and Hunter, 2009). Where speculation differs from prediction is in its treatment of uncertainty. Instead of perceiving uncertainty as a threat to the accuracy of statements, speculation makes use of it. Speculation exemplifies how uncertainty is seen as a source of creativity and inspiration in De Goede's writing on the premediatory function of risk analysis (2008). Instead of being reduced, uncertainty offers a number of possibilities for reconceiving that which is studied. Following reconceptions can have intervening impacts on a range of political engagements with potential futures.

In a way unrelated to De Goede's work, conceiving uncertainty as useful to generating new devices for thinking through the future has gained significance in literature which has become known as speculative realist(1). With Meillasoux (2012), for instance, the role contingency plays is emphasised in its reinforming of ontological debates around the emergence of, and relationality between, phenomena in the future. Here, the very unpredictability of futures permits thinking about existence beyond current expressions of being. This is evident where Meillasoux states that "I can certainly affirm on the basis of experience that causality has never failed me in the past: but that does not allow me to prove that the same will apply to the future" (2012, page 322). For Meillasoux it is the very improvable character of futures which can initiate the generation of novel forms of knowledge bringing about new sets of speculative devices such as noncausation (see Meillasoux, 2012).

Although a comparison between Meillasoux, Foucault, and Canguilhem would be useful and has yet to occur, this paper concentrates solely on Foucault and Canguilhem in their use of the milieu as a speculative device. However, the same licence speculation gives to Meillasoux in establishing new devices to explore the future is shown to be grounded in accounts of the milieu in Foucault and Canguilhem. In their treatment of the milieu, Foucault and Canguilhem can be separated from Meillasoux in understanding speculation with epistemological gravitas. Where Meillasoux dwells on how experience of existence cannot help to know the future, Foucault and Canguilhem offer a description of the milieu as a model whose structural parameters confine the subject of investigation. The subject placed within milieu formations is treated as uncertain in its movement or its relationality with other elements. The type of knowledge produced by the milieu is speculative in that it uses the uncertainty surrounding the subject to produce novel explanations of its future and challenge established discourse. What is at stake in the milieu and why this notion of milieu is important can initially be seen in how uncertainty actually becomes a means for producing knowledge on futures. Through the milieu, it can be seen how speculation, with its unscientific and 'messy' character, becomes attached to very concrete processes of liberal governmentality in Foucault and of reappraising the biological functioning of life itself in Canguilhem.

With the epistemological focus the term retains throughout this paper, the milieu is additionally important in how it prefigures spatial matters to thinking about the future. Both in the development of the 'security dispositif ' (see Dillon, 2008) and in bacteriology, Foucault and Canguilhem, respectively, stress the aleatory nature of phenomena circulating in milieus. But, at the same time, the movement of elements under observation is delimited to examine the collision and interaction of elements inhabiting the same space. By the delimitation of space, the potential consequences of elements interacting with one another can be speculated upon.

Work influenced by Foucault's lectures on security has firmly embedded space as a key concept in the security analysis of governing bodies. Collier (2008) shows how civil defence planning in the Cold War era conceived of the potential consequences of bombing raids by drawing concentric circles around cities, with rings expanding in width to invoke not only the decreasing effect of explosions according to their diminishing proximity to suspected targets, but also the changing impact of an explosion according to its interaction with different elements of a population. This spatialising of bomb threats contributes to what Collier sees as a "re-problematization" (2008, page 227) of threats of the future.

The spatial parameters which establish the milieu not only allow speculation through a delimitation of the area in which the subject of examination interacts with other things. The milieu also establishes a particular position from which to observe. This stance, as we shall see, is central to the ability of the milieu to generate knowledge that can be seen as speculative by offering an observational stance that exceeds considering the present stability of arranged environments. The milieu here is seen to examine not just the movement and circulation of elements but also the relationality between these elements in rendering possible statements on the future order of space.

These spatial interventions are seminal to the construction of milieu formulations and typified by the use of what we will come to understand by the term milieu. However, there is a serious dearth of research using the milieu, at least as an important way of thinking about futures or as an exact epistemological model rather than a generic term for 'background'. This dearth is surprising for a number of reasons. Firstly, the term milieu is widely encompassing, being used across academic disciplines. As both Foucault (2007) and Canguilhem (2008) show, the term milieu is implicit in speculation on futures across a number of academic domains, from physics and biology to the art of government through studies of population. Secondly, as a translation from French, the term milieu is synonymous with the English for environment. The term environment is seemingly inseparable from risk for those governing futures. Across the assemblage of agents acting to secure the future, speaking of a changing risk environment is common parlance and opens up a plethora of pathways for analysis and commentary (see Bell, 2006 or Salter, 2008).

Moreover, although referred to indirectly (Terranova, 2009), the term milieu does not receive sustained attention in commentary on Foucault's Security, Territory, Population (2007), a text with an ever growing amount of literature surrounding it (see, for example, Dillon, 2008; 2009). This is remarkable considering the integral role the milieu plays in developing some of the most important ideas espoused in this text. The milieu is important not only for articulating and regulating the multivariate crossover of flows through which population is envisaged but also for ensuring the future of this circulation and noting the importance of accepting the aleatory character of these circulations in establishing security strategies.

A possible reason for this dearth is that the milieu lacks an in-depth definition. By providing a nuanced definition and genealogy of the term, we can consider the significance of the milieu for engendering speculative thought processes which articulate potential futures. Reversing this lack of reflection then, I stop and consider the significance of the term milieu in a number of ways linked to the notions of space and speculation. The structure of this paper is as follows: I first offer a genealogy of the term milieu, particularly through Foucault's Security, Territory, Population (2007) and Canguilhem's writings on the philosophy of science (1988; 2008). A thorough treatment is given here of the spatial and structural characteristics the milieu is granted by the authors. In the two sections following, I show how the structure of milieu is intrinsic to the production of knowledge on futures. Understanding the impact of the milieu's spatial-structural parameters for generating knowledge on the future, I then make suggestions for what speculative thought would be constituted by for both Foucault and Canguilhem.

Characteristics of a milieu

The connection of concepts usually associated with natural sciences and life itself to the development of power appears, of course, throughout Foucault's oeuvre; from isolating 'mad' populations on the Stultifera Navis (1989) to the risk of death in relation to parrhesia (2011). Most strikingly similar to the discussion of the milieu that follows are Foucault's references to environment in his work on both biopolitics (2008) and the care of the self (1990). Broadly, the term environment acts to articulate human societal affairs through knowledge on the natural world. This discursive manoeuvre renders operable different modes of governance through questions of nature and vitality.

This intersection of human and natural worlds in questions of governance is certainly retained in what will follow with the milieu. In Security, Territory, Population the milieu is discussed in relation to the problematisation of smallpox by newly incumbent modalities of security governance. The milieu is distinguished from the term environment on two counts, however, reinforcing what has been noted about the importance and stakes of the milieu earlier. Firstly, the milieu is discussed with exact spatial-structural characteristics. It is an epistemological device for reading populations in relation to questions formulated specifically by a particular mode of governance in liberal societies: security. Secondly, and in relation to the first differentiation from environment, the milieu shows how relations of power are configured specifically in relation to understandings of the future of such populations.

On first reading, Foucault's most explicit use of the milieu in Security, Territory, Population seems to be to designate the surroundings in which elements under examination are posited. These surroundings equate to the interweaving and coexistence of populations. Population refers to actual human beings in a given space, their relationality with one another, and also the interaction of human beings with their material surroundings and the events that occur within these surroundings. Such elements are organised by their classification and categorisation, showing their normalised spatial distribution. Determining surroundings, the milieu first indicates the objects, subjects, and the relations between these things in the space where security undertakes analysis.

It is not only surroundings that delimit a specific space in which the object of security analysis is articulated. Delimiting this space also depends upon the activity of those 'elements' of a population which are posited in this space. This activity is enunciated by its movements across the space delimited. In other words, elements emergent within the space delimited are formulated into what Foucault refers to as a 'series' (2007, page 8).

The term series adds another layer onto the normalisation and ordering achieved by establishing categories through which population emerges. Series specifically refers to normativity in motion. Series understands elements in their routine circulation. Combining series with surroundings, the milieu initially allows "the individuals, populations, and groups and quasi-natural events which occur around them" (Foucault, 2007, page 21) to be understood in a given space and by the movement in this space. Two conceptions of normativity, then, are initially enabled by the milieu: normal distribution of elements by categorisation and circulation.

Establishing series within space is dependent for Foucault on "multi-variate analyses" (2007, page 20). The movement of elements and the emergence of 'events' within a given space are understood by the relations between elements and also in the reverberation effect events have within the milieu space. The surroundings and establishment of serialised circulation of elements and events occurring at regular intervals are identified then by noting the trajectory of elements in circulation and the connectivity in the milieu. The stability of the milieu, its reinforcement over time, the continual revitalisation of resources, and the ongoing circulation of parts are dependent on conceiving the interactivity of this space. It is the crossover of elements within the space delimited that continually moulds the spatial parameters of the milieu examined. Here, the importance of the term series extends beyond its designation of stable continuity and routine reaffirmation of spatially delimited environments. The establishment of series is a conceptual device which emphasises the importance of interaction between, and circulation of, elements to the building of milieus.

As an interactive space the milieu is used, however, to think about how subjects and objects come to inhabit circulations with which they are not usually associated. Exchanges between estranged elements may produce novel results, effecting change by their reverberation through the stable relations which collectively assemble the milieu. Returning to the emergence of smallpox through the milieu, Foucault notes how smallpox is understood at its foundation by the interweaving of two developments. Smallpox is problematised by its emergence through overpopulation of urban space which exceeds current limitations to the management of hygiene. The way in which circulation is routinely serialised is ruptured by this interaction, causing modifications to the milieu in general and bringing new questions concerning the regulation of different conduits in this space. By invoking stable circulation, the establishment of series allows for inference about where disturbances may be found and the potential consequences this may have for stable series. Although establishing a stable conception of circulation, the milieu's formulation of series also functions to enable speculation on how stability becomes ruptured.

Conceiving of potentially rupturous events born of relations between elements dictates that our definition of milieu as surroundings and established series of circulation is insufficient. The spatial coordinates of surroundings assert the possibility of the emergence of new series of circulation. To properly engage with how the milieu can perceive potential relations between elements and the recording of new series of circulation, it must be asserted that the milieu enables observation of elements from a particular position.

In his writing on ethology (1988), Canguilhem too states that the milieu accounts for the surroundings in which organisms evolve. By outlining the elements within a particular space, the dependency of organisms on certain phenomena can be studied. The milieu's use for producing knowledge on the potential development of elements immediately resonates with what relations this particular element sustains. With this emphasis on relationality, the term milieu also equates to a position sitting in the middle, at the interstice where the phenomena investigated come into contact with one another. In his writing on the establishment of cell theory in biology in the mid-19th century, Canguilheim shows how "new cells" (1994, page 163) emerged through a process of dividing and reconnecting cells previously conceived as whole. Similarly, commenting on Mendel, Canguilhem emphasises the role of copulation in producing hybrid forms which deviate from supposedly 'normative' hereditary families of species (see Canguilhem, 1988). The potential consequence of interaction within and between elements can be speculated upon here, showing how the milieu provides a space for accounting for the aleatory collision of elements.

In opening up a particular position from which to view the interaction and circulation it formulates, the interstice must be viewed as a place in itself. This interstice is not only a position where the collision of elements can be examined but is also a contributory component in the relationality between these elements. Providing space for the articulation of relations, the interstice conceives of elements not in their present but by their potential futures. Interactions, movement, and developments are understood in the milieu in a similar way to what Massumi refers to as array relations (2002). Array relations are guided by a drive to perceive the potential produce resulting from the interactions observed. The establishment of a series of interactions, crossovers, and events in the milieu is always geared towards understanding the future of elements. The multivariate analysis the milieu engenders is a matter of "substitution and superposition" (Massumi, 2002, page 91) between elements providing "orders of thought defined as the reality of an excess over the actual" (my italics).

In identifying surroundings and an observatory stance, we can now see how the milieu enables speculation as described in the introduction. With its two spatial characteristics, the milieu delimits firstly a particular space in which analysis takes place. The object of analysis is posited within its surroundings--a space shared with other elements of a population. Perceiving from the middle or interstice of this space, the milieu can study the relationality between elements in a population.

What aligns the milieu's structure specifically with speculative thinking and knowledge is how this structure conceives of elements in a particular way and also the ends to which the milieu is deployed in the work of Foucault and Canguilhem. Drawing on Massumi's array relationality, Canguilhem and Foucault can both be seen to use the milieu as a device which breaks with order in the present. The series to which Foucault refers in Security, Territory, Population is only established in order to see how series might collapse, allowing for the identification of newly incumbent problems for governance in the future. A similar breakage can be seen in Canguilhem's commentary on the emergence of cell theory. What breakage is attached to here, however, is established discursive articulations of vitality. In both Canguilhem and Foucault, the milieu facilitates for the introduction of knowledge on the future which reveals ruptures to the present. This rupture is found through exceeding present formations of order, whether this order is known as series or through cell organisation.

The claims made about ruptures with the milieu do not attain a relation to the present here as they might with prediction. As noted in the introduction, prediction makes statements on the future systematically in line with current trends of the present. Instead, what ruptures are related to with the milieu is the uncertainty of futures scrutinised. Thus we see in Foucault that the milieu's deployment in security apparatuses is involved in a "treatment of the uncertain" (2007, page 20). The future of circulatory order is anticipated through conceiving of aleatory movements in the milieu. This focus on the aleatory is found again in Canguilhem's work where the cell is seen to emerge as an object of discourse through negotiation between two polar arguments in biological morphology. As an epistemological discourse, cell theory in botany was consolidated by identifying continuous particles in cells. The wave of migration for cells, however, was agreed to be potentially discontinuous depending ultimately on the random spaces cells inhabited and the elements in these spaces with which cells would interact (see Canguilhem, 1994).(2) Rather than forming an obstacle to the advancement of statements concerning the future, uncertainty becomes the grounds of possibility for speculation. The milieu conceives of elements in circulation as necessarily unregulated, accidental, and ultimately unknowable. As such, different potentialities can be observed and sustained.

Deriving from the spatial coordinates and the perspective it cultivates, the milieu must also be considered as supplying a mode of expression for speculation. The particularity of this expressive function is a result of delimiting an area of activity we can speculate upon and a perceptual position from which to speculate. The third definitional variance the milieu takes then is a rendering of the milieu as synonymous with the term 'medium' (Massumi, 2003, page xvii; Canguilhem, 2008, page 114).

Treating the milieu as a medium, different interventions can be made showing how that which is observed under the milieu is articulated in a way that facilitates speculative knowledge. The milieu as a medium for speculative statements is illuminated through commentary on two concepts which can be found in commentary on Foucault: cocausality and rearticulation. Before engaging with these concepts, this paper returns to the spatial parameters characterising milieu: surroundings and interstice. I will elaborate upon how speculation has been described, is enabled, and is expressed in relation to the spatial characteristics of the milieu.

Space and multiplication

In Canguilhem's genealogy of the development of ethology (2008), the milieu is discussed in depth. Posited in the milieu, the physiology of organisms is traced in relation to their behavioural adaptation to new environments. He describes a situation of mutual affectation whereby behavioural adaptation is conditioned by the physiological state of organisms as much as vice versa. Observing this interaction over time, the genotypic constitution of organisms can be evaluated and re-evaluated. Genotype categorisations of organisms will be assessed according to a redistribution of the efficacy of hereditary causes against environmental ones which have been investigated under the milieu.

From the interaction observed in the milieu, whether producing an excess of currently stable genotypic categories or merely asserting the limits to stability of these categories, speculation has been made about those organisms observed. It is because of the placement of these organisms within the specific spatial coordinates of the milieu that speculation was possible. In the example given above, the milieu provides the observer with the centre point from which the interaction of different elements can be observed. The milieu offers here the chance to bring together different elements to assess how they may interact with one another and what implications this interaction might have on current discursive structures such as, in Canguilhem's study, genotypes. Speculation can be seen here, then, in the way milieu allows for a conception of new interactions taking place and the potential challenging of stable discursive categorisation.

As we have noted, however, the milieu also denotes the surroundings in which interaction between elements takes place. For Canguilhem, the "notion of milieu is an essentially relative one" (2008, page 100). Testing the adaptability of organisms does not just entail the forging of new relations between behaviour and heredity to reconsider or break with genotypes. It also involves evaluating adaptability by assessing an organism's behaviour across a number of different spaces. In Canguilhem's reading of Mendel's studies of heredity, we see how the development of evolution theory was reliant upon the positioning of elements within different spaces to gauge their adaptive strength. Hereditary generation of new organisms was challenged here by asserting the strength of hybridisation to explain the production of new phenomena. In Canguilhem's reading of the milieu, understanding the future trajectory of organisms is dependent on perceiving the coexistence of multiple milieus, situated across which are organisms sustaining hereditary links as well as organisms which do not seem to have any established relation.

The spatial designations by which we can characterise it, in terms of both its perceptual occupation of interstice and its denotation of surroundings, mean the milieu provides fertile ground for speculation. If we posit our gaze in the middle, different elements can be brought into new degrees of interaction with one another, allowing for epistemological breaks with established assertions concerning where organisms might be categorised genotypically. Speculation is found here in the way that elements that were never related to one another might be brought into interaction to challenge the stability of established categories.

At the same time, the trajectory of the organism observed can be speculated upon by removing it from the milieu in which it is accustomed. By transferring the organism into a different milieu, a different future can be outlined, surrounded by new elements, enfolded in different interactions and expressed under new discursive parameters. The interaction of organisms can be traced and compared throughout different environments in which they are placed. Along with the interaction perceivable through the milieu's interstice, Canguilhem's commentary on Mendel demonstrates that surroundings produce speculative investigation by allowing organisms to be repositioned in different environments from the ones in which they are regularly conceived.

To attribute the milieu with this ability to produce grounds for speculation implies something about the limits and parameters which distinguish milieus and an element's movement across different milieus. The parameters of milieus must be seen as malleable, allowing for the introduction of new elements into stable circulations and the order recorded therein. By facilitating the introduction of new elements, new speculative statements can be generated because of the malleability of borders between different milieus. As Deleuze and Guattari note, "all kinds of milieus, each defined by a component, slide in relation to one another, over one another" (2003, page 345). Multiple milieus exist "in a state of perpetual transcending or transduction" (page 345), each allowing new elements to be introduced into their interactive play. The malleability of milieus, allowing for a reconception on the future trajectory of elements after their repositioning, has as much epistemological backing as it does in Deleuze and Guattari's more ontological reading of the milieu. In her work on seeking to generate knowledge on novel life forms, Cooper shows how the pre-emption of such life forms by regulatory devices "is dependent on the constant transformation of (re) production, the rapid emergence and obsolescence of new life forms, and the novel recombination of DNA rather than the mass mono-culture of the standardised germ plasm" (Cooper, 2008, page 24). Speculating on new life forms depends on the movement that Canguilhem shows is implicit in the construction of milieu formations. Elements need to be considered in new fashions to allow statements on their potential future. For Cooper, this is done by combining elements in new relations with one another and transforming the spaces in which this interaction takes place.

Apart from judging the movement of elements across a multiplicity of milieus, the relatedness of milieus can be discussed. Stiegler points to the 'associated milieu' (2009, page 2), for instance. What the associated milieu refers to is a space which influences the constitution of a milieu being studied. This associated milieu might contain sources of energy for instance that are essential to the development of elements which are considered under an adjacent milieu. Each additional milieu identified adds new paths of 'progressive differentiation' (De Landa, 2002, page 17) to our study of an element, showing new directions this element may take and new points of intersection with different elements. Through the notion of associated milieu, the multiplicity of milieus is brought to bear on the production of speculative thinking about how elements such as Canguilhem's organism might be redefined and, in turn, might redefine the discourse which has stabilised the constitution of such organisms in the past.

Both the spatial qualities attributed to the milieu and assertions surrounding the coexistence of milieus can be seen to engender speculative thinking in the commentary on Canguilhem here. What speculation relies upon is an ability to examine the interaction of elements in an aleatory fashion. The interstice from which milieus observe allows for investigations concerning the collision and interaction of elements never considered before.

These interactions, however, remain contextualised within the surroundings of the milieu. It is by the repositioning of elements within new surroundings that the character of elements becomes knowable to a greater degree and the future of these elements can be speculated upon. The spatial coordinates of the milieu allow for an investigation of how different elements may interact with one another across a variety of different surroundings. As such, speculative statements are engendered here concerning the future of elements in particular environments and how milieus may be affected by the interactions occurring within their surroundings.

What has been commented upon in this section of the paper is the spatial coordinates of the milieu as conceived by Canguilhem. It has been noted how these spatial qualities offer a structure through which to perceive phenomena that allow speculation. New interactions can be hypothesised and the movement of elements across environments leads to new questions concerning the future of elements, challenging stable epistemological assurances about the element under investigation. However, the milieu needs to be considered as a medium for that which it observes. This can be read from a Foucaultian stance as involving both the rearticulation of that which is under observation and the generation of new devices which support speculative statements. In line with the genealogy of the milieu and its articulation of the uncertain circulation of elements, the milieu's enunciative limits must assimilate to its spatial features.

Cocausality and rearticulation

In Foucault's use of the term, the milieu is connected to analysing populations in societies secured in a way that resonates with laissez-faire liberalism. The milieu's parameters allow a conception of elements in circulation, flowing uncertainly around, in between and into one another in a way that is self-regulating. To address the emergence of new phenomena produced by the relations which are forged between elements, causal explanations must be exceeded. Causality, because of the way it envisages movement from singular sites of cause to sites of effect, cannot reflect the multiple, complex, and reciprocal ties which exist in forms of self-regulating societies. Milieus are useful here, as Canguilhem would note, because of their ability to model the multiplicity of elements which could be brought into contact with one another and the gradual remoulding of milieu spaces consequent on new relations between elements.

Foucault shows, in opposition to causality, how the milieu offers a conception of circulation of elements, their interaction, and the production of new potential elements and series as cocausal. Described by aleatory and self-regulating movement, where multiple milieus and elements are involved with one another, a cause at one site might be an effect in another. The site affected could then be understood as a cause according to the milieus and elements it effects. A "circular link is produced between effects and causes, since an effect from one point of view will be a cause from another" (2007, page 21). Circulation is perpetual, accumulating over time and involving contribution from different agents. New manoeuvres emerge to deal with new developments in the milieu, taking circulation in new ways, rupturing the milieu's serialised stability. The perpetual nature of circulation is retained then, but in a way that emphasises that circulation is constantly developing in new ways, according to the differential way in which each element is affected by changes to circulation and the subsequent effect changes have on the relations elements hold.

The efficacy of serialised circulation is explained by causality in a way that ignores the potential for the emergence of novel elements and irregular relations which threaten currently recorded stability. What causation lacks, then, is any reference point to the future of elements examined and the fact that this future is uncertain. Foucault's cyclical conception incorporates the regularity of flows but qualifies this regularity by uncertainty and the possibility of disruption.

The unstable barriers which exist between milieus do not merely enable speculation through opening our gaze to possible intersections between different elements and the consequent disruption of series. Rather, taking milieu as medium, a host of exploratory and enunciative devices expressing uncertain flows and the interaction of heterogeneous phenomena come to the fore. Cocausality's cyclical conception of circulation functions in this way by exceeding the conception permitted by causality to describe events which involve multiple components. What cocausality deals with is a surpassing of causality in a way that retains the stability required to sustain categories such as milieu. Relations still exist, positing elements within milieus and conditioning these elements by their surroundings. Cocausality, however, allows the milieu to cater for the reserialisation of circulation which can occur where elements are treated by their aleatory character and uncertain capacity.

It is important to reiterate that the milieu and the conceptual devices it enables are posited for Foucault in a wider security apparatus. As such, the milieu is deployed in a way that fits into a particular mode of governance which is itself responsive to and emergent within particular socioeconomic and juridical limits. The security apparatus is posited then within a laissez-faire socioeconomic formation where, in its resonance with the notion of freedom, uncertain and aleatory self-regulation of elements is an integral component of order. Emergent in laissez-faire formations, the deployment of the security apparatus must ensure order through the production of aleatory and uncertain flows. In its ability to conceptualise this uncertainty, the milieu becomes a principal tool for actualising security's specific problematisation of order in laissez-faire societies. The extension of new conceptual devices, such as cocausality, exemplifies how the milieu brings about new articulations of order based on uncertain and aleatory circulation.

Within the particular modality of governance known as security that the milieu facilitates, speculative knowledge is generated by the way Foucault uses the milieu to conceive of the multiplicity and uncertainty that characterises the circulation of, and the interaction between, elements in a population. The milieu understands the aleatory circulation of elements in order to generate speculative statements which explain new problems for stability which emerge from interaction. Through cocausality, we can see how different elements might relate to one another and how such relations might reverberate across different spaces. It is by the uncertain and aleatory nature of circulations invoked by milieus that speculation becomes integral to articulating potential ruptures to stability.

As speculation is facilitated by "the unstable co-causality of milieus of circulation" (Terranova, 2009, page 234) we do not just get an idea of how an element's significance may be spread across domains but also how elements, and the milieus they inhabit, regulate one another. The elements which we scrutinise can inhabit different milieus, adopting different roles in each of these milieus and entering into new relations of regulation. In Terranova's (2009) analysis of what may be referred to as the economy of vitality and the vitalisation of economy, we see how early forms of liberal economic circulation attain a legitimate and operable base by the expression of its schema through the limits of biological discourse. The expression of circulation, along with how elements and relations are reconceptualised under liberal regimes of governance, is supported through enunciation used in biological understandings of circulation.

Through both the expression made and the movement observed, new systems of order and regulation are emergent. Posited in this new system, elements of populations become redefined. What this highlighting of new potentiality relies upon, as Terranova's work suggests, is a rearticulation and reordering of elements in their interaction with, and absorption in, milieus in which they have not previously been posited. The subjects under scrutiny gain new significance according to the character of those elements and circulations they come into contact with and spaces through which they are articulated. Being conceived under milieu formulations means the elements under scrutiny are understood in a multifaceted way, rearticulated according to the different relations of regulation they are invested in across different environments. The elements under our gaze could attain a character that, "while being woven from social and political relations, also functions as a species" (Foucault, 2007, page 22), for example.

This rearticulation and reordering of elements into different milieus of circulation described here with the aid of Terranova's work bears similarities to the experimental biology discussed with Canguilhem. The speculation which is at play in cell theory was based on the transgression of a cell into new milieus--its injection into surroundings where new relations could be forged, some more operable than others. What we have with rearticulation is the expression of speculation deriving from a similar spatial-discursive transgression. The expression of new potentially emergent biopolitical series is still based on the fluidity between milieus. With Terranova's work, the emergence of new circulations based on liberal order depends on the capacity of elements to be enunciated through biological discursive schemata.

It is with this reexpression of elements in discursively ordered space that speculation is facilitated about the future of both the elements transferred and newly emergent space. Through this transference, we can treat elements in accordance with a new range of predicates which are outside their usual remit. Rearticulation reiterates how speculation is a type of thinking about futures that involves breaking with established discursive limits and the borders between discursively imagined space. We saw this with the rupturing of genotypes in Canguilhem and the rupturing of series in Foucault. Rearticulation, as an expressive appendage of the milieu, starts from a different point from what has already been discussed, however. As previously stated, the aleatory character of elements is posited within serialised circulation and genotypical categories to show how order might be ruptured in the future. With rearticulation, uncertainty or Terranova's instability facilitates speculation on newly emergent or future systems by the transferral of elements from one milieu to articulate the dynamic of a new milieu.

What is at stake with the milieu and speculation here is actually the emergence and stabilisation of new regimes of circulation, within which elements are understood in a new way according to their constitution in and their contribution to this new emergent milieu. By its transferral of elements into new milieus, rearticulation enables consideration of new intersections existing between elements. Speculation is at play in rearticulation where it is accepted that transferring elements into new emergent space will influence perspectives on the development of order in new spaces. Liberal economic systems are emergent and can be regulated in the future by their expression through discursively stable milieus of biological circulation for Terranova. This is accurate for Cooper to the extent that "the question of production thereby becomes inseparable from that of economic growth" (2008, page 7). Thinking around ideas concerning economic futures such as growth is enabled by the rearticulation of elements into new milieus of production. The extent to which stable growth can be sustained, what changes are needed to maintain this growth, and the consequences of development can be speculated upon by investing elements into coexistent, overlapping, and interdependent milieus.

Conclusion: spaces of speculation in Canguilhem and Foucault

Throughout this paper, the milieu has been characterised in necessarily interdisciplinary contexts. As an epistemological device which generates knowledge from its spatial coordinates, the milieu outlines the surroundings in which different elements circulate. The milieu also perceives elements within these surroundings from a particular position: the interstice. As such, the milieu observes the contact points between different elements in motion. The milieu is also a medium, a mode of expression for that which it observes, generating and supporting speculative thought in a number of ways. What then, from the genealogy of the milieu we have given, does speculative thought mean for both Canguilhem and Foucault?

Initially, the milieu allows speculation by facilitating points of relation between elements that have not been imagined. Speculation here involves thinking about futures as the product of aleatory intersections between elements. What has been referred to as the interstice is a seminal component in the spatiality of milieus which allows the observer to consider the effect of interactions between previously exclusive elements. As is evident in Canguilhem's commentary on ethology, speculation on potential new intersections acts to challenge the stability of previous knowledge regarding particular organisms. Discursive categorisations such as genotypes are remoulded according to the speculation facilitated by the milieu in its occupation of the interstice.

Relations for the milieu are not fulfilled just by the merging of two previously separated elements. By its occupation of the middle and delineation of surroundings, the milieu itself takes a crucial role in relationality. The milieu delimits the space in which interactions take place and is consequently remoulded by the novel interaction about which it facilitates speculation. The reference point for understanding this reciprocity between relations observed on one hand and the shifting limits of space on the other, is the term stability. Stability acts to invoke the serialisation of elements circulating within a particular space. The reshaping and cojoining of different surroundings offer a way to imagine the breaking of stable series of circulation. Along with forging new relations between elements, speculative thought in the milieu is generated by understanding the order and spatial limits of environments in which interactions take place. By constructing this stability, we can consider the accumulation of events by which this stability might be breached. Speculation is enabled through the milieu by indicating not just the environmental limits but the transcendence of these limits and the subsequent reconsideration entailed for elements under scrutiny.

The act of speculation can be seen where the elements the milieu brings together, and the destabilising of limits, are brought to bear on established discursive structures. For Foucault, this would appear at the level of questions problematising governance. For Canguilhem, it might mean interventions in arguments surrounding evolutionary theory. In the work of both authors, a common question can be found. This question centres on how the milieu, as a device generating speculation, acts as a medium. In other words, how the milieu expresses the speculative thinking it facilitates by accommodating the uncertain and accidental circulation of elements within and between milieus. To answer this question, we must return to the spatial parameters of the milieu. The surroundings of the milieu are malleable, allowing elements to shift across milieus creating new points of intersection. This malleability does not merely account for the ability to observe elements in different environments but also for how the milieu expresses this observation. Speculative thinking is facilitated by the repositioning of elements into discursive structures in which they have not figured previously. In the case of Foucault, biological discursive structures inaugurate and support new economic systems, as Terranova notes (2009). The milieu model rearticulates elements under scrutiny in order to express speculative thinking which is grounded in placing elements in new environments, where they interact with new elements to produce new phenomena. The expression of speculation relies on recognition of the multiplicity of milieus and the movement between these milieus. New explanatory devices such as cocausality act to imagine this multiplicity and sustain speculative thinking.

Speculation in Foucault and Canguilhem's work means addressing the future from a position of error, ultimately. What this position entails is generating knowledge in a way that reflects the aleatory circulation of things in space. With this emphasis on the aleatory, elements forge relationships with things in a way that could not be predicted, and spaces are inhabited by different phenomena in a way that challenges the stability of space. As Foucault shows in his understanding of the milieu, order is necessarily wrapped up in the aleatory. It is only from this position of error that order can be sustained. What speculation can do is preempt the downfall of order by imagining its collapse in as many ways as the milieu allows for. In its connection to order, speculation becomes integral to the power/knowledge relationship (Foucault, 1980). If, as Foucault suggests, moments of rupture define the trajectory of power, speculation becomes a crucial tool on the side of knowledge in attempting to sustain power over time.

doi: 10.1068/d4211


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(1) Although some authors associated with the term speculative realist would reject being labelled as such, speculative realist works as an umbrella term to examine work which starts at a similar premise. This premise concerns how knowledge is generated on that which cannot be entirely conceptualised. Uncertainty concerning the future would fit into this problem of necessarily conceiving of that which cannot be fully conceptualised.

(2) This division between two contradictory images of cell development is elaborated in Canguilhem's discussion "Towards a fusion of representations and principles" (1994, pages 173-177).

Nathaniel O'Grady

Department of Geography, Durham University, Durham DH1 3LE, England; e-mail: nathaniel.o'

Received 25 February 2011; in revised form 5 March 2012
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Author:O'Grady, Nathaniel
Publication:Environment and Planning D: Society and Space
Article Type:Critical essay
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 1, 2013
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