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24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep 1st Edition

21 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1781680933
ISBN-10: 1781680930
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Editorial Reviews


“A fascinating short book.”
New York Times Magazine

“A dark, brilliant book”
—Michael Hardt, Artforum

“A polemic as finely concentrated as a line of pure cocaine.”
Los Angeles Review of Books

“A humane & bracingly splenetic counterblast.”
—Steven Poole, New Statesman

24/7 is the capstone of Crary’s archeology of the spectacle and arguably the most significant of the lot. It’s informed by the erudition of one of the most thorough and original researchers on the planet. The vast bodies of knowledge Crary seamlessly weaves together in 24/7 is reminiscent of the work of Michel Foucault …[and] marked by a moral passion that fuels Crary’s polemic and underscores what’s at stake, specifically the future of the human being in both the physical and emotional sense. Plus, it’s eminently readable.”

“The 24/7 phantasmagoria of digital exchange impresses the commodity deep into the body’s tissues, leaving only sleep as a partial respite. Jonathan Crary updates Marcuse’s One Dimensional Man with a vigilant critique of the totality of the seemingly eternal present of this pseudo-world.”
—McKenzie Wark, author of The Spectacle of Disintegration

"Crary’s polemic against the demands of 24/7 capitalism brilliantly illuminates the devastating effects of our changed temporality. Enjoined to constant productivity, we consume ourselves, our world, and our capacity collectively to imagine a common future. This is a crucial commentary on the format and tempo of contemporary life."
—Jodi Dean, author of The Communist Horizon

“[An] intelligent and intriguing discussion of how modern monopoly capitalism insinuates itself into the most intimate aspects of our lives … 24/7 is a masterful exploration of the place of the human individual, their dreams and the future of the species in today’s age of nonstop neoliberal capitalism and its multitude of manifestations.”
“Crary makes a smart argument … astute and far-seeing.”
—Erwin Montgomery and Christine Baumgarthuber, The New Inquiry

“Written in a style that compels admiration, Crary ranges from technology to literature, theater to social theory, cinema to economics … the book has the great merit of profoundly renewing our conception of sleep.”
—Gilles Bastin, Le Monde (“Book of the Week”)
“An urgent, funny and scary short book about the political stakes of daily life in the 21st century.”
—Mark Kingwell,  Literary Review of Canada
“Crary’s words, whether sumptuous or straightforward, subdued or violent, are like elements of a dream.  But in this book dreaming is political."
—Clément Gyhs, Libération

“A timely and important polemic … it cuts through a lot of the starry-eyed nonsense people talk about the empowering nature of new technologies.”
—Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian (“Paperback of the Week”)
“Crary has produced a brilliant and distressing text that offers no simple solutions.”
—Maya Osborne, Review 31

Included in The 25 Best Books of 2014

A luminous analysis.”
—Philosophie Magazine

“Crary’s talent as a pamphleteer is unequaled.”
Corriere della Sera

“Crary’s central thesis is as original in its conception as it is devastating with regard to the phenomena it analyses.”
—Jacques Dubois, Mediapart

“Crary seamlessly weaves together art-historical examples, theoretical concepts, and sociological studies to advance his thesis that sleep (symbolizing a moment of repose in our nonstop lives) is the last bastion of non-capitalistic society.”
—Jeanne Gerrity, Art Practical

“Sleep, for Crary, is part of the everyday that has yet to be fully integrated, where we are vulnerable but also capable of moving into other forms of time. As such, sleep is a resource not only for physiological renewal, but one that provides, the book proposes, an exemplary space for rethinking the basis of the relationship of politics, the imagination and processes of living.”
—Matthew Fuller, Mute

About the Author

Jonathan Crary is Meyer Schapiro Professor of Modern Art and Theory at Columbia University. His books include Techniques of the Observer and Suspensions of Perception.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Verso; 1 edition (June 4, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781680930
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781680933
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #578,277 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Malvin VINE VOICE on July 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"24/7" by Jonathan Crary is a brilliant interdisciplinary analysis about capital's ongoing colonization of human consciousness. Professor Crary is a highly regarded art critic, essayist and editor whose studies about perception and power have proven widely influential. This masterful book provides uniquely compelling insights into our postmodern condition including the possibility of change.

Dr. Crary frames the discussion with the tale of DARPA's quest to engineer a `sleepless soldier' who might better fit into the military's increasingly automated systems of terror, torture and surveillance. The author supposes that these kind of non-sleep technologies will inevitably be adapted by struggling civilian workers and consumers, many of whom are in fact already compelled to develop virtual identities in order to better compete in the cutthroat 24/7 marketplace. The author thoughtfully compares capital's attack on sleep with the broader assault on the earth's resources and the theft of community assets; with the infamous Bhopal disaster serving as an extreme example of the discord that exists between corporate violence and communities at sleep.

Dr. Crary deftly assimilates the thoughts of leading postmodern theorists including Foucault, Agamben, Bauman, Deleuze and others to develop, enrich and articulate his ideas. For example, Dr. Crary argues that the so-called `digital age' is properly understood as capitalism's ongoing project of subsuming individuals within its regime of discipline and control.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Terence Kuch on May 29, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Jonathan Crary's latest book is densely written and packed with original and suggestive ideas from observing the e-age and its impact on society and the individual. Here's an example: "One seemingly inconsequential but prevalent linguistic figure is the machine-based designation of `sleep mode.' The notion of an apparatus in a state of low-power readiness remakes the larger sense of sleep into simply a deferred or diminished condition of operationality and access. It supersedes an off/on logic, so that nothing is ever fundamentally `off' and there is never an actual state of rest." (page 13) I've observed the transition to this state (e.g., to IOS6, where off isn't off, it's only 'kinda' off), but didn't pay it much attention until I read this insightful passage in "24/7." This book is slow going, but only because so much is packed into so little space (133 pages). Passionate analysis, fervent rhetoric of a decidedly left-wing sort. Those who do not share the author's political orientation (such as myself) will still find it thoughtful, provocative, original, and a must-read.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By tommy binns on March 4, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's a rant, yes, and it's about how bad things have developed with the late capitalism and especially the influence of the web on our daily life, but it's clever and profound. Crary has a beautiful way of putting an argument together and the last resort being sleep is not the most easy to defend, but he does it. It's a fast, easy read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By ewomack VINE VOICE on February 23, 2014
Format: Hardcover
"24/7" explores the threat of a future "sleepless" society. As the modern world gradually encroaches on more and more of the "everyday," the author argues that sleep itself, that fundamental human function, may go the way of the dodo or the VCR very soon. The book opens citing a defense study on the white-crowned sparrow, a North American bird that can somehow manage without sleep for seven contiguous days during migration. When or if scientists unlock this small bird's secrets, any discoveries will have definite military applications. Then, the book argues, this research will inevitably seep over into the consumer and work world. Those daring few who take the first sleepless plunge will likely blaze a new pioneering trail and set a new standard for others who will probably feel forced to follow in an effort to "keep up" or "stay ahead of the competition." After all, if your competition doesn't sleep, how can you?

This all may sound like a pernicious slippery slope, but the very recent rise of "Smart Phone" culture provides a convincing precedent. How many people now check their texts, phone messages or e-mails at all hours, including in the middle of the night? "24/7," as framed in this small but dense book, seems directly upon us. Not to mention the prevalence of caffeinated "energy drinks" that often renders sleep impossible. Sleep, as the book argues, remains an impenetrable affront to the machinations of the modern world. Many thinkers, even those dating back to the first glimmerings of the Enlightenment, have considered this largely unconscious time as wasteful or unproductive. Sleep also represents humans in their most vulnerable state and the infrastructures of technological society have made sleep relatively safe.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By El Profe on October 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A relatively brief but really fine review of the current techno-pickle we're all in. Every sentence is great and sums up material from many other recent studies. Totally worth it, and it actually covers much more territory than you might think -- the whole thing with sleep is his Ariadne's thread or refrain that he follows to better guide us through the labyrinth we find ourselves in. This is a great use of your limited reading time.
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