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Chronosolidarity

In Work’s Intimacy, Melissa Gregg pays much attention to the challenge faced by part-time workers in knowledge industries. Many of her participants within this category reported regularly finding themselves checking e-mail outside of their paid hours, something they saw as necessary to ensure they were ‘prepared’. In this way, ‘catch up […]

Digitalisation and the elimination of latency 

From Work’s Intimacy, by Melissa Gregg, loc 3594-3609: Describing the impact of the BlackBerry in 2006 –just before the iPhone changed mobile computing for keeps –Research in Motion’s John Balsillie explained his bestselling devices as “latency eliminators.” According to this logic, Balsillie argued, “successful companies have hearts … and intrinsic […]

Collapsing the parameters of our worlds

For many years I’ve been interested in the phenomenology of endurance sport. Or rather the phenomenology of the training required by endurance sport. How does this give order to life? What pleasures are derived from the training regime? What’s foreclosed by the strict management of self and how does this add […]

Social Movements and Pseudo-Activity 

From Riots and Political Protest, by Simon Winlow, Steve Hall, Daniel Briggs and James Treadwell, pg 195: A great deal of contemporary radical politics is dominated by pseudo-activity: activity that covers up a deeper inactivity. Waving placards and moaning about the government are all well and good, but, if no […]

The Individualisation of Utopia

From Riots and Political Protest, by Simon Winlow, Steve Hall, Daniel Briggs and James Treadwell, pg 42: Utopianism did not disappear, but it came to address the libidinal dreams of the individual rather than the political dreams of the collective. Utopia was an individual space in which we were free […]

The emotional dimension of chronopolitics

A really interesting suggestion from pg 169 of Arlie Hochschild’s Outsourced: Could it be, I wondered, that we are dividing the world into emotional types—order-barking, fast-paced entrepreneurs at the top, and emotionally attuned, human-paced mediators at the bottom? Talking one’s way past the protective layers of a top executive, teaching […]

Structural limits to self-control

Myself and Tom Brock are currently working on a paper in which we analyse the discourse of ‘intelligence’ in terms of the individualisation of structural advantage: a whole range of factors are wrapped up into the descriptor of someone as ‘intelligent’ which explains a complex outcome in terms of a […]

The colonisation of life by work

From Inventing the Future, by Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams, loc 2429: Work has become central to our very self-conception –so much so that when presented with the idea of doing less work, many people ask, ‘But what would I do?’ The fact that so many people find it impossible […]

Laziness as a virtue 

I’m very interested in the way ‘laziness’ now tends to be used to describe procrastination: it’s often a loaded term to covey that someone is driven by their own interests rather than institutional ones. Here’s an example of what I mean, from Misbehaving, by Richard Thaler, pg xiii: The interview started. […]

The Invention of Lifestyle

An interesting snippet from pg 150 of Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success: When first used by psychologist Alfred Adler in 1929, lifestyle referred to strategies people used to avoid dealing with problems or uncomfortable situations. The word was repurposed in the 1960s to mean something akin […]

Super-ego individualization

The ideas are pretty familiar but I nonetheless really like this section from Zizek’s Trouble in Paradise, pg 86. I’m trying to use the notion of cognitive triage to explore how obsessive self examination subtracts from time and energy actionable for working with others to address social issues. A series […]

The Psychoanalytics of Temporising

In my recent work, I’ve been writing a lot about ‘temporising’, a concept I borrowed from Margaret Archer’s work in the hope of developing it further. In the reflexivity sense, temporising involves trying to find a solution to a present dilemma through the exercise of temporal agency. I spoke earlier […]

The Entlastung of the Quantified Self

I’m very interested in this concept, which I was introduced to through the work of Pierpaolo Donati and Andrea Maccarini earlier this year. It emerged from the work of Arnold Gehlen and refers to the role of human institutions in unburdening us from existential demands. This is quoted from his Human Beings […]

the challenge of cultural abundance

This passage from Shadow Work, by Craig Lambert, conveys what I’ve written about in two recent papers as the challenge of cultural abundance. From loc 1395: To be sure, posting creations does not guarantee them an audience. Far from it. Take the songs that anyone can now publish online and […]