Filosofian tohtori Toyoki Sammy

141300 €

The Hidden Pains of Smartphone Consumption: A Study of Disaffecting Temporal Experience in Digital Consumer Society

Tieteellinen tutkimus / siihen pohjautuva työ | Kolmivuotinen

This research studies the disaffecting nature of digital consumption, and the societal conditions of possibility behind it. Digital consumption in the form of smartphone usage is a ubiquitous and naturalized dimension of culture today. Yet, frequently, when we awaken to how dependent and determined we are by these gadgets, we become assailed by feelings of angst and self-malaise. Being overly dependent smartphones and feeling bad about it, however, is not a clinical problem, or a discrete mental disorder that can be resolved therapeutically. Rather, it is a mass-scale human condition that is imposed externally, something symptomatic of the demands of prevailing social order. As the source of the problem lies in the object-relation between people and their living environment (of which smartphones are an integral part), a culturally informed, phenomenologically sensitive material analysis of this (dis)affective object-relation will be conducted. Smartphone consumption, it follows, is envisaged as an affective-attuning medium, connecting the living body-subject affectively and epistemically to the normative imperatives of its material environment. These normative imperatives, it will be argued, are derivative of neoliberal, semiocapitalist consumer society, and the disaffect that excessive digital consumption gives rise to is understood to be temporal by nature. Capitalism and time as a mode of subjugation and disaffect have always gone hand in hand. Today, cognitive rather than material labour is the basis of productivity, and the main commodity and object of consumption is ‘attention’. Here, progress and growth are measured not in terms of expanding production of material goods but the ever-accelerating cycle of producing and consuming of ‘psychic stimulation’. Grasping empirically how smartphone consumption affectively-attunes to normative forces in digital capitalist society, and to what affective detriment for the living body-subject, is what animates the research