Hyperconnectivity and Its Discontents
Digital hyperconnectivity – a condition, to exaggerate only slightly, in which everyone and everything is connected to everyone and everything else, everywhere and all the time – is a defining fact of our time. Hyperconnectivity has colonized the self, reorganizing our attention and reshaping our ways of thinking, seeing, and feeling. It has recast social interactions, stretching them over space and time, gamifying them, and channeling them into platform-friendly, surveillance-enhancing forms and formats. It has converted the whole of human culture into an unending stream of digital content, served to us by personalized algorithms. It has revolutionized economic life by enabling frictionless transactions and facilitating the extraction and analysis of data on an unprecedented scale. It has fragmented the public sphere, polarizing – and in some ways paralyzing – the citizenry, and strengthening populist challenges to mediating institutions.
Hyperconnectivity and Its Discontents develops an interpretive account of these pervasive and unsettling changes. The book casts a broad net, addressing transformations of selves, social interactions, culture, economics, and politics. Rather than seek to chronicle the latest developments – a futile endeavor in the face of ceaseless turbulence and change – the book seeks to illuminate the everyday experience of hyperconnectivity in each of these domains through the structural analysis of its underlying dynamics.
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