The Sociology of Speed: Digital, Organizational, and Social Temporalities

ISBN : 9780198782865

Judy Wajcman; Nigel Dodd
224 ページ
156 x 234 mm

There is a widespread perception that life is faster than it used to be. We hear constant laments that we live too fast, that time is scarce, and that the pace of everyday life is spiraling out of our control. The iconic image that abounds is that of the frenetic, technologically tethered, iPhone/iPad-addicted citizen. Yet weren't modern machines supposed to save, and thereby free up, time? The purpose of this book is to bring a much-needed sociological perspective to bear on speed: it examines how speed and acceleration came to signify the zeitgeist, and explores the political implications of this. Among the major questions addressed are: when did acceleration become the primary rationale for technological innovation and the key measure of social progress? Is acceleration occurring across all sectors of society and all aspects of life, or are some groups able to mobilise speed as a resource while others are marginalised and excluded? Does the growing centrality of technological mediations (of both information and communication) produce slower as well as faster times, waiting as well as 'busyness', stasis as well as mobility? To what extent is the contemporary imperative of speed as much a cultural artefact as a material one? To make sense of everyday life in the twenty-first century, we must begin by interrogating the social dynamics of speed. This book shows how time is a collective accomplishment, and that temporality is experienced very differently by diverse groups of people, especially between the affluent and those who service them.


Judy Wajcman & Nigel Dodd: Introduction

Part I: Theories
1 Nigel Dodd & Judy Wajcman: Simmel and Benjamin: Early Theorists of the Acceleration Society
2 Hartmut Rosa: De-Synchronization, Dynamic Stabilization, Dispositional Squeeze: The Problem of Temporal Mismatch
3 John Urry: Accelerating to the Future

Part II: Materialities
4 Donald MacKenzie: Capital's Geodesic: Chicago, New Jersey, and the Material Sociology of Speed
5 Saskia Sassen: Digital Cultures of Use and their Infrastructures
6 Paul Du Gay: 'A Pause in the Impatience of Things': Notes on Bureaucracy and Speed
7 Melissa Gregg: The Athleticism Of Accomplishment: Time Management and the Labor of Productivity

Part III: Temporalities
8 Harvey Molotch: Being on Hold: Trials and Tribulations of Outsourcing the Time Burden
9 Sarah Sharma: Speed Trap and the Temporal: Of Taxis, Truck Stops, and Task Rabbits
10 Ingrid Erickson & Melissa Mazmanian: Bending Time to a New End: Investigating the Idea of Temporal Entrepreneurship
11 Steven Jackson: Speed, Time, Infrastructure: Temporalities of Breakdown, Maintenance and Repair


Judy Wajcman is the Anthony Giddens Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She was previously Professor of Sociology in the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University. Her scholarship has focused on the sociology of work and organizations, science and technology studies, and gender theory. Her books include: TechnoFeminism, The Politics of Working Life, and most recently Pressed for Time: The Acceleration of Life in Digital Capitalism (University of Chicago Press 2015). ; Nigel Dodd is a Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics, and Editor-in-Chief of the British Journal of Sociology. Nigel's main interests are in the sociology of money, economic sociology and classical and contemporary social thought. He is author of The Sociology of Money and Social Theory and Modernity (both published by Polity Press). His latest book, The Social Life of Money, was published by Princeton University Press in 2014. Nigel is also co-editor (with Patrik Aspers) of Re-Imagining Economic Sociology (Oxford University Press, 2015).