Tyranny of the Moment: Fast and Slow Time in the Information Age

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Pluto Press, Aug 20, 2001 - History - 160 pages
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The turn of the millennium is characterized by exponential growth in everything related to communication – from the internet and email to air traffic. Tyranny of the Moment deals with some of the most perplexing paradoxes of this new information age. Who would have expected that apparently time-saving technology results in time being scarcer than ever? And has this seemingly limitless access to information led to confusion rather than enlightenment? Eriksen argues that slow time – private periods where we are able to think and correspond without interruption – is now one of the most precious resources we have. Since we are theoretically 'online' 24 hours a day, we must fight for the right to be unavailable – the right to live and think more slowly. It is not only that working hours have become longer – Eriksen also shows how the logic of this new information technology has permeated every area of our lives. Exploring phenomena such as the internet, wap telephones, multi- channel television and email, Eriksen examines this non-linear and fragmented way of communicating to reveal how it affects working conditions in the economy, changes in family life and, ultimately, personal identity. Eriksen argues that a culture lacking a sense of its past, and therefore of its future, is effectively static. Although solutions are suggested, he demonstrates that there is no easy way out.

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User Review  - petterw - LibraryThing

Hylland Eriksen has written a thought provoking book. Coming from a frantic on-the-move man like him lends a lot of weight to his arguments, because I guess this book is as much addressed to himself ... Read full review

Tyranny of the moment: fast and slow time in the information age

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

E-mail, cellular telephones, voicemail, the Internet, and other information technologies do not increase our efficiency, give us more flexibility, or liberate us from drudgery. Instead, argues Eriksen ... Read full review


Mind the Gap
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About the author (2001)

Thomas Hylland Eriksen is Professor of Social Anthropology at the Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture at the University of Oslo. He is the author of numerous books on anthropological issues, including Ethnicity and Nationalism and Small Places Large Issues (both published by Pluto Press). Tyranny of the Moment topped the Norwegian best-seller list for several weeks.

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