Tag Archives: global capitalism

“Made You Look!”: The Public Desire for Privacy in the Age of Global Capital

In this provocative essay, Simon Orpana interweaves social observation with personal and philosophical reflection to consider the contemporary cultural landscape in which digital connectivity makes us all to some extent exhibitionists and peepers. Privacy is put on display through public acts, even as public spaces are increasingly privatized and subjected to the greediness of both the corporate and the consumer gaze. But rather than “retreat to a dislocated elsewhere,” Orpana asks us to consider how accessing and negotiating these shifting dimensions of a socially embedded self are mediated by class, status, and most significantly the economy, as “Daily we plug into our iPods and cell phones, hoping to insulate and inoculate ourselves from the political and ecological calamities whose evidence is mounting around us in everything from unusual weather patterns, to increasing precarious employment options, to overcrowded transit conditions, but over which we seem to have very little control. Our reflexive responses to the hegemonic operations of capital remain symptomatic insofar as they imitate the abstract and global level at which digital finance operates, asserting forms of social connectivity in a way that promises us agency and freedom while allowing the economic structures that determine us to remain obscure and unchecked.” Continue reading

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