24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep

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Overview

24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep explores some of the ruinous consequences of the expanding non-stop processes of twenty-first-century capitalism. The marketplace now operates through every hour of the clock, pushing us into constant activity and eroding forms of community and political expression, damaging the fabric of everyday life.

Jonathan Crary examines how this interminable non-time blurs any separation between an intensified, ubiquitous consumerism and ...

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24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep

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Overview

24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep explores some of the ruinous consequences of the expanding non-stop processes of twenty-first-century capitalism. The marketplace now operates through every hour of the clock, pushing us into constant activity and eroding forms of community and political expression, damaging the fabric of everyday life.

Jonathan Crary examines how this interminable non-time blurs any separation between an intensified, ubiquitous consumerism and emerging strategies of control and surveillance. He describes the ongoing management of individual attentiveness and the impairment of perception within the compulsory routines of contemporary technological culture. At the same time, he shows that human sleep, as a restorative withdrawal that is intrinsically incompatible with 24/7 capitalism, points to other more formidable and collective refusals of world-destroying patterns of growth and accumulation.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A fascinating short book.”— New York Times Magazine

“A dark, brilliant book”—Michael Hardt, Artforum

“A polemic as finely concentrated as a line of pure cocaine”—Los Angeles Review of Books

“A humane & bracingly splenetic counterblast.”—Steven Poole, New Statesman

24/7 is the capstone of Crary’s archeology of the spectacle and arguably the most significant of the lot. It’s informed by the erudition of one of the most thorough and original researchers on the planet. The vast bodies of knowledge Crary seamlessly weaves together in 24/7 is reminiscent of the work of Michel Foucault…[and] marked by a moral passion that fuels Crary’s polemic and underscores what’s at stake, specifically the future of the human being in both the physical and emotional sense. Plus, it’s eminently readable.”—PopMatters

"The 24/7 phantasmagoria of digital exchange impresses the commodity deep into the body’s tissues, leaving only sleep as a partial respite. Jonathan Crary updates Marcuse’s One Dimensional Man with a vigilant critique of the totality of the seemingly eternal present of this pseudo-world."
—McKenzie Wark, author of The Spectacle of Disintegration

"Crary’s polemic against the demands of 24/7 capitalism brilliantly illuminates the devastating effects of our changed temporality. Enjoined to constant productivity, we consume ourselves, our world, and our capacity collectively to imagine a common future. This is a crucial commentary on the format and tempo of contemporary life."—Jodi Dean, author of The Communist Horizon

“[An] intelligent and intriguing discussion of how modern monopoly capitalism insinuates itself into the most intimate aspects of our lives…24/7 is a masterful exploration of the place of the human individual, their dreams and the future of the species in today’s age of nonstop neoliberal capitalism and its multitude of manifestations.”—CounterPunch
 
“Crary makes a smart argument … astute and far-seeing” – Erwin Montgomery and Christine Baumgarthuber, The New Inquiry

McKenzie Wark
“The 24/7 phantasmagoria of digital exchange impresses the commodity deep into the body’s tissues, leaving only sleep as a partial respite. Jonathan Crary updates Marcuse’s One Dimensional Man with a vigilant critique of the totality of the seemingly eternal present of this pseudo-world.”
Jodi Dean
“Crary’s polemic against the demands of 24/7 capitalism brilliantly illuminates the devastating effects of our changed temporality. Enjoined to constant productivity, we consume ourselves, our world, and our capacity collectively to imagine a common future. This is a crucial commentary on the format and tempo of contemporary life.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781781683101
  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Publication date: 6/3/2014
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 153,446
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Jonathan Crary is Meyer Schapiro Professor of Modern Art and Theory at Columbia University. His books include Techniques of the Observer and Suspensions of Perception.

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  • Posted September 8, 2014

    Good Description, Poor Prescription Crary describes¿accurately,

    Good Description, Poor Prescription
    Crary describes—accurately, I believe—how the Internet and its attendant hardware (PCs, mobile phones, and the like) and software (e.g., Google) have integrated individuals into “the 24/7 operations of information processing networks” (p. 24). Almost everyone is (so to speak) all in and, he says—again, accurately—there’s no way out: we’re in “a switched-on universe for which no off-switch exists. . . . [N]o moment, place, or situation now exists in which one can not shop, consume, or exploit networked resources, there is a relentless incursion [of the Internet, mobile devices, and the like]. . . into every aspect of social and personal life” (p. 30). Crary’s description of the all-in-no-way-out relationship between individuals and their society/universe—a relationship in which individuals are integrated into the larger system in which they are a part and, thereby, controlled by it—is not unique. It’s similar to Marcuse’s one-dimensional society, McLuhan’s “world of total involvement [of] everybody” (The Medium is the Massage, p. 61), and Wolin’s “inverted totalitarianism” (Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Spector of Inverted Totalitarianism). It’s a notion as old—and as accurate—as Rousseau’s, “man … is everywhere in chains”, as well as a basic tenet of anthropology and sociology and, of course, an empirically established principle of behaviorism and system analysis.
    Crary’s contribution to our understanding of the contemporary situation, although not unique, is significant because he shows, more clearly than anyone else I’m aware of, the centrality of the Internet, PCs, electronic networks, and so on, in the one dimensionality of the present state of affairs.
    Crary is displeased with our situation, with “the homogeneity of the present” (p. 19), and wants “radical social transformation” (p. 121). Some (I include myself) propose that we find the levers for change and betterment within the existing situation; that is, within the Internet world. No way! says Crary. We must “struggle . . . elsewhere”; that is, we must initiate and form our struggles outside the Internet world, in “already existing relationships forged out of shared experiences and proximity” (Ibid.). In addition, “we must “subordinate. . . . electronic media” to these efforts that we’ve developed outside 24/7 electronic media networks. Otherwise, the Internet, electronic networks, et al. “will . . . reproduce and reinforce the separations . . . [and other Crary-undesired phenomena] inherent in their use” (Ibid.).
    Crary and his elsewhere outside radicals are as likely to succeed today in producing “radical social transformation” as did their 1960’s Marcusian-outside-radical-goal counterparts. Consider the accomplishments of Marcuse’s lauded leftist intelligentsia, the socially marginalized, “the unemployed and the unemployable …. outcasts and outsiders, and the exploited and persecuted” (One-Dimensional Man, p. 256). Angela Davis comes to my mind, as she did to Marcuse’s, but she is/was a social transformer? Eldridge Cleaver, another 1960s persecuted leftist radical, transformed himself in 1975 from Black Panther to fashion designer, then, to Christian Republican and, later, to other personae, but that’s it in terms of Cleaver and transformation. At best, Crary’s elsewhere radicals, Marcuse’s leftist intellectuals, the persecuted, et al, as well as all other outsiders, however named—bring about incremental change; the only kind of change (excluding Divine intervention or similarly-sized disasters) there is. Those (again, I include myself) who want to increase the effectiveness of incremental changes which, over time, result in breakthroughs and a significantly better situation, must use the Internet and its accompanying hard- and software. Otherwise, we fail to optimize our efforts to move the Internet world in the right direction.

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