CRARY: On the Ends of Sleep— Shadows in the Glare of a 24/7 World

In more general terms, the functioning of a 24/7 world corresponds to what Gilles Deleuze called societies of control, in an influential text from 1990. Deleuze outlined how institutional imperatives were beginning to regulate individual and social life in ways that were continuous and unbounded, that effectively operated 24 hours a day, wherever one happened to be. In a disciplinary society, forms of coercion and surveillance occurred within specific sites, the school, the factory, the workplace and the family home, but during the times and spaces moving between these sites one was relatively unmonitored, during various intervals and in unregulated spaces that constituted the remnants of everyday life. What Deleuze identified as new was the absence of gaps, of open spaces and times, on which institutional imperatives did not impinge. Mechanisms of command and effects of normalization, he saw, penetrated almost everywhere and at all times, and became fully internalized, and internalized in a more comprehensive, micrological way than disciplinary imperatives of the 19th- and earlier 20th century. In affluent sectors of the globe, what was once consumerism has expanded to a ceaseless 24/7 activity of techniques of personalization, of individuation, of machinistic interface, and of mandatory communication. As Zygmunt Bauman has so well described, indi- vidualization is the work we are all given, and we dutifully comply with the prescription to refashion ourselves and our intricate identities continually, and may only dimly grasp that to decline this work is not an option.

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