Living the master plan
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I think of Living the Master Plan as an experimental ethnography. It might be better to say, in the words of Deleuze and Guattari, that it is a cartography. Whichever you prefer to call it, it is certainly an attempt to write critically about contemporary trends in American culture. I use multiple sites and subjects, including myself, to chart out the lines and machines which give shape to our lives. My map will take us into emerging forms of belonging, where community and corporatism converge and capitalist modes of valorization become our ethical foundation. Besides simply describing these emerging entities, I hope to provide a new context in which to evaluate them. Homeowners’ Associations, Master Planned Communities, and the property management firms specializing in their management are my privileged sites throughout. I map them out not only as new versions of community, but also as expressions of State desire. In writing these sections I tried to present what goes on in a Homeowners’ Association in a way that the inherently intimate operation of the State becomes visible and isomorphic with all sorts of local and internal arrangements. The Master Planned Community is also a place where matter seems charged with an affective agenda. This points toward a kind of cultural function and political practice that has received scant critical reflection.