Trophic Hierarchization Of Social Space: From Settlement To Conveyor


The article attempts to identify the specifics of modern biopolitical power, which is initially based on the inclusion of vital mechanisms of regulation within and interspecies communication in the orbit of control models. Such management scenarios imply forced regulation of people's nutritional needs and the possibilities of their satisfaction, based on the manipulative imitation of a lack of trophic resources. It has been established that biopolitics presupposes the mixing of these methods and the subsequent polarization of social hierarchies depending on the place in the system of production and distribution of material goods. At the same time, producers of material goods become symbolic analogs of natural producers, and social groups that control the distribution of material goods become analogs of multilevel consumers (predators). This is how an unnatural method of hierarchical communication is formed, which presupposes a rigid physical dependence of lower-level producers on the biopolitical arbitrariness of power consumers. Historical contradictions between trophic models and levels of power hierarchy are removed only in the machine-conveyor type of communication, which finally consolidates the system of social inequality, destroying the system of natural differences. As a result, the mature biopolitical model of social communication is reduced to the level of instinctive trophic processes based only on the production, distribution, exchange and consumption of “food” and any of its social analogues. With the development of scientific and technological progress and digital technologies, this biopolitical strategy gets a new sound.

Keywords: Biopoliticsfoodsedentary and nomadic types of economysocial communicationtrophic hierarchy


The viability of modern civilization depends on the effectiveness of biopolitical and hierarchical scenarios for satisfying the continuously growing trophic needs of the population, which historically constitute the basal basis of manipulative management practices. The principles of the formation of a social hierarchy that is “involved in power relations” (Haynes & Hickel, 2016, p. 1) are always based on unconscious adherence to the logic of natural trophic pyramids. Therefore, modern civilization acts as a sublimate of historical forms of biopolitical practice in "models of mass / excess consumption" (Boström, 2020). Trophic levers initially become the main instrument of repressive biopolitical socialization. By dispensing food, sacralizing and ritualizing its use, the power forms the desired profile of the individual, his everyday life, the types and structure of social groups, and the desired scenarios of social communication. Modern models of biopolitical communication are based on universal consumption as a social sublimate of natural trophic systems and the unconscious foundation of mass society. Consumerism represents a form of repression of the natural needs of the body, and artificial trophic competition sublimates bodily and conscious contradictions, replaces natural communication with virtual ones and helps biopower (Malenko & Nekita, 2018) to introduce unconscious scenarios of social control everywhere. Power manipulations with food become the main mechanism for taming human nature, aimed at creating and maintaining a virtual social-hierarchical space that replaces the nature they have repressed in the ideas of unconscious inhabitants. Imposing an ontological contradiction for mass society between consciousness and body, biopolitical power considers both of these sides of human being to be the basis of unconscious management technologies, extending from the definition of general principles of social relations to attempts to violently "reform" the natural course of life.

Problem Statement

Based on the analysis of modern biopolitical strategies of power, an analogy was revealed between the principles of construction and functioning of natural trophic systems and mechanisms of social stratification, forced hierarchization and manipulative management of human communities, which is an urgent scientific problem.

Research Questions

The study will address the following issues:

1) analyzed the sedentary and nomadic principles of building social hierarchies as a form of biopolitical sublimation of natural communicative models;

2) the evolution of instinctive automatism as a biopolitical tool of unconscious regulation of social-hierarchical interaction is considered. system of social institutions.

Purpose of the Study

Identification of unconscious sociobiological, trophic scenarios for the formation and transformation of a hierarchical system of social institutions. Within the framework of such communicative spaces, the initial lack of realization of individual, group and collective trophic interests serves as the basis for the emergence and institutional evolution of manipulative practices of power, embodied in the functional structure of hierarchical corporate communities and the dominant practices of social management.

Research Methods

Consideration of the complex of these problems is possible only from an interdisciplinary perspective, based on the latest data from biology, ethology, social psychology, socioanthropology and other disciplines, consistently revealing the natural determinism of social interaction and all civilizational communicative scenarios. For traditional philosophical discourse, such attempts are not typical, however, certain aspects of the problem were analyzed within the framework of social Darwinism, the Frankfurt school, Freudomarxism, neo-Marxism, postmodernism, in which “individuality as an essential political category” was assessed (Nir, 2018, p. 84). Their main task was to identify the biotic origin of all social models of human communication and the trophic sources of their institutional confrontation with numerous natural prototypes.


In modern society, mature institutional practices are ubiquitous “in hierarchies of governance, bureaucratic functions, and networks of interaction across social and political boundaries” (Rogers, 2019). All of them are directly rooted in natural trophic communication as a reflex-unconscious platform of socio-political hierarchies, dictate the principles of marking the space of power and visually represent its “institutional design” (Rhinehart & Geras, 2020, p. 213). An analysis of the genesis of the biopolitical hierarchy of power demonstrates the unconscious nature of the emergence of all forms of social and political communication as a sublimation of basal trophic needs and the evolution of power scenarios for their regulation. Analysis of the history of power reveals the unconscious way of existence of individuals who, in the civilizational “war of all against all”, regulate their trophic rights and areas. The first power stratification was the initial division of society into “producers” - gatherers and “consumers” - hunters, whose behavior of “predators” was still in the natural trophic logic. The second stage of biopolitical sublimation of trophic strategies was expressed in the differentiation of agricultural and nomadic strategies of hierarchical management of controlled trophic areas. Sedentary agriculture until the end of the industrial revolution remained within the framework of the producer profile of primitive gatherers, reproducing the natural logic of trophic systems, which guaranteed a certain level of "food freedom" for thousands of years, contributed to the formation of primary models of hierarchical social communication.

An alternative, consumer model was embodied in the fierce competition of repressive elements of the state hierarchy reproduced by the leading civilizational institutions (bureaucracy, army, etc.). The orientation towards the consumption of animals led to the predatory nomadic migrations of the population in search of prey, as well as the domestication of animals used for food and for its search. An unconscious mindset that “the means to maintain life should be obtained on fairly easy conditions so that a significant part of society can be freed from constant participation in work according to a routine” (Veblen, 1984, p. 62). In addition to various models of social structure, nomadic and agricultural peoples have also formed alternative types of ecological (biopolitical) thinking and behavior. Nomads instilled a consumerist "ecoterrorism", a predatory, colonial tradition of "eating away" an alien habitat, and farmers practiced archetypally active "getting used to" the habitat. The history of civilization is a militaristic trophic competition of “producer” and “consumer” ways of thinking and being, in which war “to the bitter end” has become the leading model of communication-competition both within civilizational hierarchies and in relation to the environment. T. Veblen considered the emergence of a "leisure class" to be a significant result of such trophic competition, appearing "gradually during the transition from primitive savagery to barbarism, or, more precisely, during the transition from a peaceful to a consistently warlike way of life" (Veblen, 1984, p. 61-62).

Power initially arises as a result of hierarchical communication of the producer and cosumental trophic models of interaction of human communities with the environment. Oleskin (2007) believed that “in human society, there is an institutionalization of the relations of dominance-subordination, their consolidation as political power”. The formation of a hierarchical, consumer bio-power meant the spread of violent communication of a person with his own kind and the environment in all scenarios of social relations. The open military or indirect tax terror of the consumer nomads against the sedentary agricultural communities meant the formation and promotion of the “inferiority complex” of producer farmers, as well as the institutional displacement of violence into all fundamentally possible forms of social communication. Such manipulations in the early stages of the formation of states led to the displacement of traditional forms of producer agriculture and consumer animal husbandry, institutionally sublimated by civilization into the structures of production (producers) and management (consumers), respectively, into the physical and mental forms of labor.

The “divide and conquer” principle, traditional for the imperial biopower, allowed it from the outset to violate the natural dialectics of the producer and cosumental types of trophic communication, to form on this basis a trophic pyramid of society, alternative to natural models. In this paradigm, farmers, and in a civilizational perspective, all workers employed in agriculture, considered in the status of producers "supplying global value chains" (Olthaar et al., 2019, p. 365), constituted the trophic foundation of the state, already a completely artificial hierarchy, headed by former "nomadic consumers" who traditionally possessed weapons and strength. Neither mentally, nor organizationally, they were not capable of creatively transforming activity in the natural environment, but their predatory mobility, due to the fundamental lack of rootedness in the natural and social environment, made it possible to form an unconscious complex of consumer civilizational domination over primitive and conservative producer-oriented settled life. It is not surprising that modern post-industrial civilization is still unconsciously cultivating the dictatorship of activism of socially mobile managers-consumers, positioning themselves as the ideal of pragmatism and efficiency against the background of the inertia and facelessness of the productive philistine masses.

The striving for biopolitical differentiation of the results of the activities of "consumers" and "producers" at the same trophic level leads to the formation of a sign-trophic system for regulating competition in the horizontal layers of socio-trophic communication. For this, the same principle of socio-forming food inequality is used, which only exacerbates trophic competition as we move towards the base of the pyramid. In addition, each lower level of trophic competition turns into a testing ground for the consumer ambitions of biopower, which seeks to designate both the “producers” of this level, and any results of their activities with its “iconic” food.

It can be stated that for Europe, historically, the first stage in the formation of state hierarchical systems is inextricably linked with the era of slavery, which showed the cruel effectiveness of the trophic apparatus of power. On the other hand, this era immediately showed the “transformed” nature of social trophism in which the life of the subordinate “producers” completely depends on the imperious whim of the “consumers”, and not vice versa. Postmodern philosophy has unequivocally stated that in such a perverted, from the point of view of nature, social logic, even "the instinct of self-preservation is not fundamental" (Baudrillard, 2007, p. 91-92).

Biopower readily positions any social pathology or opposition as a manifestation of the marginality of social groups, the instinctiveness and primitiveness of the biotic nature of the person himself, who urgently need an external, compulsory “overcoming of certain biological limitations” (Platovnjak & Svetelj, 2019, p. 669). Such a policy leads to the technocratization of social management, (Sherajzina et al., 2018, p. 253), to the unconscious transfer of machine automatism and linearity into the space of social practice. Bio-power interprets social communication as an instinctive process regulated by trophic needs and the social infrastructure of their satisfaction.

Bipolitical strategies replace natural unconsciousness with social and institutionalized instinct, which obeys the logic of production and trophic expediency. The individual becomes the cheapest kind of anthropological machine to maintain, and the machine turns into the ideal of a subordinate for biopower. A living person is replaced by a production-trophic social automaton performing sequences of social actions in order to satisfy the trophic “appetites” of the global civilization machine. Social progress is reduced to the simplification of social actions of an employee as a unity of classified sets of competencies and production functions from a logical and biopolitical abstraction, which was once called "man".

Biopolitical cultivation of the unconditional dominant of technology and automatism naturally reduces a person to the level of a “social machine”, with “aggravated heredity” - a set of initial constructive “flaws” that sharply reduce its market attractiveness and competitiveness in comparison with high-tech devices and gadgets. In addition, the degree of controllability of a "living" person is also significantly lower than that of a machine, which is why E. Fromm warned that the unconscious social destructiveness of biopolitical discourse manifests itself, among other things, in "an indifferent attitude towards life and love for all machines and mechanisms." (Fromm, 1994, p. 307). G. Marcuse also pointed out the danger of technocracy, since "the growing ability of society to manipulate technical progress also increases its ability to manipulate and control <...> instinct" (Marcuse, 1994, p. 103).

An inevitable consequence of the aggressive biopolitical formatting of the social environment is the production of hierarchies of ever more anthropomorphic and zoomorphic mechanisms, coupled with more and more “mechanized” people and “socialized” animals. This process is the basis of “symbolic violence” that is fundamental to biopolitics (Lumsden & Morgan, 2017, p. 926) and hierarchical models of socio-trophic interspecies symbiosis. It is significant that at the early stages of the development of European civilization, industrial mechanisms compensated for only the most labor-intensive production functions associated with the imperious socio-trophic "consumption" of muscle energy. Modern claims of biopower mainly concern control over the neurohumoral regulation of the human body. At the turn of the third millennium, biopower seriously announced its claims to control the consciousness and feelings of its subjects by creating "desire machines" and systems of "artificial intelligence" as an analogue of technically replaced consciousness and spirit.


The development of biopolitical technologies for trophic management of social hierarchies allows the authorities to expand the institutional space of their own reproduction. The entire history of civilization appears as the evolution of aggressive techniques for the technologization of the "war of all against all", optimization of the management of the primitive herd of gatherers and hunters, as biomass for the powerful "consumers". A fundamental biopolitical conflict between agricultural and nomadic lifestyles is being formed as opposition trophic strategies, the institutional basis of all civilizational wars. The associated continuous blackmail by hunger and death allows biopower to position ontological food inequality as an “ethical act requiring reflection at all levels” (Fanzo et al., 2020, p. 112929) and an instinctive foundation of institutional hierarchy. The basis of biopolitical management is the transfer of biotic principles of interspecies interaction, borrowed from the nomadic model of power by sedentary communities. Biopolitics supplants the archetypal self-activity of mind and body, replaces it with loyal social automatism focused on minimal production and consumer functions. The technocratization of society opens the way to the dictatorship of artificial intelligence and the dominance of a digital civilization of robotic subjects, in which “virtual communication becomes an alternative to real communication” (Pozhidaeva & Karamalak, 2018, p. 106).


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Malenko, S., & Nekita, A. (2021). Trophic Hierarchization Of Social Space: From Settlement To Conveyor. In E. V. Toropova, E. F. Zhukova, S. A. Malenko, T. L. Kaminskaya, N. V. Salonikov, V. I. Makarov, A. V. Batulina, M. V. Zvyaglova, O. A. Fikhtner, & A. M. Grinev (Eds.), Man, Society, Communication, vol 108. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 716-722). European Publisher.