Pressed for Time: The Acceleration of Life in Digital Capitalism

Overview


The technologically tethered, iPhone-addicted figure is an image we can easily conjure. Most of us complain that there aren't enough hours in the day and too many e-mails in our thumb-accessible inboxes. This widespread perception that life is faster than it used to be is now ingrained in our culture, and smartphones and the Internet are continually being blamed. But isn't the sole purpose of the smartphone to give us such quick access to people and information that we'll be free to do other things? Isn't ...
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Pressed for Time: The Acceleration of Life in Digital Capitalism

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Overview


The technologically tethered, iPhone-addicted figure is an image we can easily conjure. Most of us complain that there aren't enough hours in the day and too many e-mails in our thumb-accessible inboxes. This widespread perception that life is faster than it used to be is now ingrained in our culture, and smartphones and the Internet are continually being blamed. But isn't the sole purpose of the smartphone to give us such quick access to people and information that we'll be free to do other things? Isn't technology supposed to make our lives easier?
 
In Pressed for Time, Judy Wajcman explains why we immediately interpret our experiences with digital technology as inexorably accelerating everyday life. She argues that we are not mere hostages to communication devices, and the sense of always being rushed is the result of the priorities and parameters we ourselves set rather than the machines that help us set them. Indeed, being busy and having action-packed lives has become valorized by our productivity driven culture. Wajcman offers a bracing historical perspective, exploring the commodification of clock time, and how the speed of the industrial age became identified with progress. She also delves into the ways time-use differs for diverse groups in modern societies, showing how changes in work patterns, family arrangements, and parenting all affect time stress. Bringing together empirical research on time use and theoretical debates about dramatic digital developments, this accessible and engaging book will leave readers better versed in how to use technology to navigate life's fast lane.
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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Jacob Silverman
Pressed for Time is a fine work of sociology that evinces deep concern for how we actually use gadgets, rather than how we talk about them.
Publishers Weekly
01/05/2015
Wajcman (TechnoFeminism), professor of sociology at the London School of Economics, offers insights into our use of high-speed technology and how that technology skews our perceptions of time. She says "modern" workers have always felt rushed, from the mill workers of the Industrial Revolution to today's nomadic office professionals, yet studies show that since the advent of computers, hours spent working have not actually increased. The "time-pressure paradox" we feel is due to our increasing tendency to blur work hours with family and personal time, coupled with technology that untethers us from our workplaces. New devices lead us to expect to perform many things quickly, but overlapping demands of work, family, and personal life keep tripping us up. Wajcman backs up her arguments with a wealth of reference material and earns points for spotlighting the gender gap created by the extra demands on women from work and family. While sentences such as "The relationship between technological change and temporality is dialectical, not teleological" can make reading a challenge, Wajcman's conclusions are thoroughly supported by research, and delivered with sympathy, reminding us that "we make the world together with technology, and so it is with time." (Dec.)
Saskia Sassen

“Across her books, Wajcman has chosen issues and problematics that needed to be addressed, examined, and re-interpreted. All her books  share an intense engagement with major conditions that affect many of us. In this book she gives us her kind of analysis of time—its presences and absences, its visible and invisible vectors.”
Sherry Turkle

“More, better, faster. So many of us take these as unproblematic goods. Judith Wajcman’s Pressed for Time—written in elegant, clear, accessible language—will make you take a new look at this kind of thinking. Armed with her analysis of the co-construction of technology, social practice, and our sense of what matters, ‘more, better, faster,’ and our modern culture of time is made problematic, insecure, and interesting. A must-read not only for a range of social scientists and humanists, but for everyone who wants to understand how we have remade time and remade ourselves in digital culture.”
Helga Nowotny

“For all those who experience the time pressure paradox—ever more technological devices promising time-saving efficiency while feeling ever more harried—this brilliantly written book offers a fresh look at the temporal landscape in the digital age. It rejects the technological promise of speed as the ultimate telos of innovation and the perspective that we are all temporal victims of digitalization. Multiple temporalities coevolve with emergent technologies, shaped by gender relations and the value accorded to work-life and leisure balance. The dynamics of technological digitalization closes off some options while opening up others, thus encouraging us to think of an alternative politics of time.”
Princeton University - Paul DiMaggio

“Wajcman integrates the voluminous literatures on time use and technology elegantly and concisely, a great service in itself. But, more important, she wisely leads the reader to new questions, more interesting and fruitful than the ones to which we are accustomed, helping us to think in terms not of quantities (of time or stress, of work or leisure) but of the flows and rhythms that we produce as we interact with technology and with one another. This is an essential addition to any bookshelf or syllabus on the social implications of information technology.”
Inside Higher Ed - Scott McLemee

"Wajcman delivers one sharp tap after anotherat the calcified interpretations that surround [technological] changes. It leaves the reader with a clear sense that the paradox of becoming trapped by devices that promise to free us follows, not from the technology itself, but from habits and attitudes that go unchallenged. . . . Pressed for Time helps elucidate how things shaped up as they have. It seems less paradoxical than pathological, but Wajcman suggests, rather quietly, that it doesn't have to be this way."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226196473
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 12/3/2014
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 283,984
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author


Judy Wajcman is the Anthony Giddens Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics, the author of TechnoFeminism, and the coauthor of The Social Shaping of Technology and The Politics of Working Life
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Table of Contents


Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Tools for Time

1 High-Speed Society: Is the Pace of Life Accelerating?
2 Time and Motion: Machines and the Making of Modernity
3 The Time-Pressure Paradox
4 Working with Constant Connectivity
5 Doing Domestic Time
6 Time to Talk: Intimacy through Technology
7 Finding Time in a Digital Age

Notes
Index

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