Week 5 Reading Response

In Judy Wajcman’s ‘Finding Time in a Digital Age’ (2015) she discusses the idea of time and how we currently live in what she calls an ‘accelerated’ society. She contends that technology ‘reconfigures’ time and suggests that we ought to recognise that time is a man-made creation, its source a machine: the clock. Although machines were made to save us time and make work/production more efficient, they have in fact done the opposite: ‘the unparalleled velocity of computerisation, telecommunications, and transport, which was expected to free up human time, has paradoxically been accompanied by a growing sense of time pressure’; an acceleration, as it might be. For instance, a computer is a mechanism that was meant to ‘save’ us time, in simple areas such as word processing. This kind of technology was supposed to leave room for more leisure time in our lives. However, today, there is a blurred line between work and play, because these kinds of technologies have intruded on our home lives. The ability to work from home, as a result of advanced communication devices, has allowed employees and employers to design their own business hours (rather than sticking to the traditional 9-5 office hours). People are now able to work as little, but more significantly, as much, as they would like to. Wajcman has found that people are now working more than people were during the first industrial revolution, even though they are actually far wealthier. She believes that this is because the western, capitalist society that we live in ‘…inflames our insatiable desire for consumption of goods’. I agree with this argument, because I think that the capitalist mindset of working hard, and being rewarded for this in the form of success, has given rise to the idea that we can’t enjoy our leisure time for the sake of leisure. As a result, Wajcman asserts that the unemployed have been demonised  in society, as they are perceived as ‘time-wasters’.

I found this article interesting because I think there is value in ‘wasting time’, day dreaming and procrastinating. I believe this is where a lot creativity stems from (at least for me). If you’re always in a rush, how can you possibly develop a fully formed idea? Without enough rest from work, how can your brain function at a high enough level to come up with an original and innovative concept? Wajcman’s belief that we are ultimately our own timekeepers is an empowering theory and is a reminder of the importance of ‘slowing down’.


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