Week 5: Judy Wajcman – Finding Time in a Digital Age

This week’s reading poses some interesting food for thought that is especially important in relation to the research topic of my group. ‘Find Time in a Digital Age’ is the final chapter in a book called Pressed for Time: The Acceleration of Life in Digital Capitalism. Written by Judy Wajcman, Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics and Political Science, this chapter explores notions of time, leisure, work and technology. Wajcman is clearly interested in the way that technology reconfigures our understanding of time in a variety of ways. Firstly, digital technology blurs the boundaries between work time and leisure time. Moreover, technological developments begin to alter the way we see particular tasks of leisure. Furthermore, such technological developments gives birth to a fast paced lifestyle and society, where the number of possibilities in regards to tasks that can be engaged with on a day to day basis become exponential, along with ability to complete such tasks at any time of day and from any physical location. These opportunities accelerate our notions of time as it becomes increasingly difficult to keep up with the development of technology and all of the practices that surround new technologies. Stemming from this is the notion that I know a lot of people of my generation associate with, that: “we don’t have enough time”. This appears to be a result of what Wajcman is referring to in the way that people of my generation may be confused about how to process different distinctions of time, meaning that work time, leisure time, socialising, personal time, etc. all become melded into one. This provokes thought for me regarding our research topic on ‘Human Agency Amongst the Onslaught of Technology’ in the sense that as distinctions of time become blurred as a result of technology, who is in control of the actions of humans and therefore the trajectory of our lives, us or the technology?

Upon researching this topic further I discovered Manuel Castell’s Network Society, in which he poses that the speed of digital technology is killing our idea of time. That the future of technology will see an end of linear clock time and we will enter a new epoch in which time disappears all together. I am intrigued by this idea as I have for a long time now been interested in the idea that time does not exist as such in a linear sense, but is merely a measurement system invented by humans that may function completely differently to our current collective understanding. Deep stuff…

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