Refereed scientific book or report (C1)

Dependent, Distracted, Bored: Affective Formations in Networked Media

List of Authors: Paasonen Susanna

Publication year: 2021

ISBN: 978-0-26-204567-4

A new approach to understanding the culture of
ubiquitous connectivity, arguing that our dependence on networked
infrastructure does not equal addiction.

In this book, Susanna Paasonen takes on a
dominant narrative repeated in journalistic and academic accounts for
more than a decade: that we are addicted to devices, apps, and sites
designed to distract us, that drive us to boredom, with detrimental
effect on our capacities to focus, relate, remember, and be. Paasonen
argues instead that network connectivity is a matter of infrastructure
and necessary for the operations of the everyday. Dependencies on it do
not equal addiction but speak to the networks within which our agency
can take shape.

Paasonen explores three affective
formations—dependence, distraction, and boredom—as key to understanding
both the landscape of contemporary networked media and the concerns
connected to it. Examining social media platforms, mindfulness apps,
clickbaits, self-help resources, research reports, journalistic
accounts, academic assessments, and student accounts of momentary
mundane technological failure, she finds that the overarching narrative
of addicted, distracted, and bored users simply does not account for the
multiplicity of things at play. Frustration and pleasure, dependence
and sense of possibility, distraction and attention, boredom, interest,
and excitement enmesh, oscillate, enable, and depend on one another.
Paasonen refutes the idea that authenticity can be associated with lives
led “off the grid” and rejects the generational othering and
scapegoating of smart devices prescribed by conventional wisdom.

Last updated on 2021-24-06 at 09:03