Sleeplessness and (Digital) Leisure in Late Capitalism – Netflix and the Spectre of Perpetual Entertainment

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With the advent of the mass diffusion of advanced technologies, the global spread of the Internet and other digital forms of communication, the means of ‘entertainment’ have expanded exponentially and have become digitised. Today, the Internet itself has become a primary source of entertainment, offering would-be consumers the prospect of greater accessibility and choice but also new forms of control and the disciplinary techniques of surveillance. Given that entertainment has always been synonymous with ‘leisure’ it can come as no surprise that our (mis)use of leisure time today is dominated by entertainment in digital form. This article suggests that Netflix – the multi-million-dollar American entertainment company which provides online streaming and Video on Demand (VOD) content at a monthly price – encapsulates the 21st Century synonymy between leisure and digital entertainment whilst marking a new stage in the tactics of a postmodern ‘culture industry’ (Adorno and Horkheimer, 1997) in which everyday life is haunted by the ‘spectre of perpetual entertainment’. The prospect of a perpetual entertainment offered by the likes of Netflix, Amazon and HBO, then, invariably pushes us to (re)consider the consumption of ‘time’ (outside of work) in late capitalist societies. Indeed, several theorists have stressed the central role played by ‘time’ in the development of capitalism as well as its ordering influence upon everyday life (Mumford, 2010; Debord, 2012) whilst any serious consideration of work/leisure ‘time’ in the 21st Century leads us towards the inevitable question of sleep(lessness). This study will, thus, also explore the inherent tension between the human biological capacity to stay awake and the ever-increasing desire to consume as much entertainment (online) as possible in one day. As Jonathan Crary (2013) has suggested, the urge to resist sleep increasingly characterises the average day of the inhabitants of highly developed (post)modern societies and our insatiable desire for such VOD platforms as Netflix surely only adds to this phenomenon.
Idioma originalEnglish
Estado da publicaçãoSubmetido - 2018
EventoVIII - Lisbon Summer School for the Study of Culture: Cyber + Cipher + Culture - Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Lisbon
Duração: 2 jul. 20187 jul. 2018


ConferênciaVIII - Lisbon Summer School for the Study of Culture
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