The Paradox of Agency - New Article!

story © Michael Betancourt, December 5, 2016 all rights reserved.


CTheory has posted my new article, "The Paradox of Agency," that describes the new alienation we all live within: created by automation, this alienation masquerades as a liberating force enabling fluid forms of identity/action/being in the digital society, but if and only if we accept the limited range of constraints generated by the digital system’s builders. A new, contemporary alienation originates from within this affective surplus of agency created by digital systems. Any action or behavior not contained by this structural preconception is designated as “invalid”—rendered impossible through a technology that transforms the social restrictions into instrumentalities that cannot be questioned. The limits of this “freedom” are immediately apparent in the situation of “gig” workers (such as on-demand labor) whose work is managed by autonomous systems. The separation of action from result by the aura of the digital reveals this alienation in the paradoxical dispersal of efficacy and immediacy of control.

Copyright © Michael Betancourt  December 5, 2016  all rights reserved.

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