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Infinite Distraction

Author: Dominic Pettman
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 1509502289
Size: 66.75 MB
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It is often argued that contemporary media homogenize our thoughts and actions, without us being fully aware of the restrictions they impose. But what if the problem is not that we are all synchronized to the same motions or moments, but rather dispersed into countless different emotional micro-experiences? What if the effect of so-called social media is to calibrate the interactive spectacle so that we never fully feel the same way as other potential allies at the same time? While one person is fuming about economic injustice or climate change denial, another is giggling at a cute cat video. And, two hours late, vice versa. The nebulous indignation which constitutes the very fuel of true social change can be redirected safely around the network, avoiding any dangerous surges of radical activity. In this short and provocative book, Dominic Pettman examines the deliberate deployment of what he calls hypermodulation, as a key strategy encoded into the contemporary media environment. His account challenges the various narratives that portray social media as a sinister space of synchronized attention, in which we are busily clicking ourselves to death. This critical reflection on the unprecedented power of the Internet requires us to rethink the potential for infinite distraction that our latest technologies now allow.

Immaterialism

Author: Graham Harman
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 1509500987
Size: 23.25 MB
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What objects exist in the social world and how should we understand them? Is a specific Pizza Hut restaurant as real as the employees, tables, napkins and pizzas of which it is composed, and as real as the Pizza Hut corporation with its headquarters in Wichita, the United States, the planet Earth and the social and economic impact of the restaurant on the lives of its employees and customers? In this book the founder of object-oriented philosophy develops his approach in order to shed light on the nature and status of objects in social life. While it is often assumed that an interest in objects amounts to a form of materialism, Harman rejects this view and develops instead an “immaterialist” method. By examining the work of leading contemporary thinkers such as Bruno Latour and Levi Bryant, he develops a forceful critique of ‘actor-network theory’. In an extended discussion of Leibniz’s famous example of the Dutch East India Company, Harman argues that this company qualifies for objecthood neither through ‘what it is’ or ‘what it does’, but through its irreducibility to either of these forms. The phases of its life, argues Harman, are not demarcated primarily by dramatic incidents but by moments of symbiosis, a term he draws from the biologist Lynn Margulis. This book provides a key counterpoint to the now ubiquitous social theories of constant change, holistic networks, performative identities, and the construction of things by human practice. It will appeal to anyone interested in cutting-edge debates in philosophy and social and cultural theory.

The Playstation Dreamworld

Author: Alfie Bown
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 1509518061
Size: 18.94 MB
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From mobile phones to consoles, tablets and PCs, we are now a generation of gamers. The PlayStation Dreamworld is – to borrow a phrase from Slavoj Zizek – the pervert's guide to videogames. It argues that we can only understand the world of videogames via Lacanian dream analysis. It also argues that the Left needs to work inside this dreamspace – a powerful arena for constructing our desires – or else the dreamworld will fall entirely into the hands of dominant and reactionary forces. While cyberspace is increasingly dominated by corporate organization, gaming, at its most subversive, can nevertheless produce radical forms of enjoyment which threaten the capitalist norms that are created and endlessly repeated in our daily relationships with mobile phones, videogames, computers and other forms of technological entertainment. Far from being a book solely for dedicated gamers, this book dissects the structure of our relationships to all technological entertainment at a time when entertainment has become ubiquitous. We can no longer escape our fantasies but rather live inside their digital reality.