Tyranny of the Moment
“… I found myself both charmed and challenged by its breathlessness. The subject is an important one, and Thomas Hylland eriksen handles it with both style and a light touch”
(Todd Gitlin, New York University)
This fascinating and original book argues that slow time is an increasingly scarce resource in the information age. Using a wealth of examples, Tyranny of the Moment takes a cool, diagnostic look at this ‘hurried era’. It shows how phenomena such as soap operas, youth culture, advertising and ‘ flexible work’ are connected to the same logic, based on information technology, and how they link up with the history of modern society. At the same time, it indicates that there are deep contradictions in technology-driven contemporary society. Who would have accepted apparently time-saving technology, from the filofax to e-mail and the mobile phone, to result in time being scarcer than ever? Since we are theoretically ‘on line’ 24 hours a day, we must fight for the right to be unavailable – the time to live and think more slowly. Eriksen considers the main cause of the problem as the exponential growth in everything to do with communication – from web pages to air traffic. The result is potentially devastating, as life in western societies threatens to disintegrate into disjointed and incoherent fragments.