Getting nowhere fast: a teleological conception of socio-technical acceleration

Sutherland, Thomas (2014) Getting nowhere fast: a teleological conception of socio-technical acceleration. Time & Society, 23 (1). pp. 49-68. ISSN 0961-463X

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Abstract

It has been frequently recognized that the perceived acceleration of life that has been experienced from the Industrial Revolution onward is engendered, at least in part, by an understanding of speed as an end in itself. There is no equilibrium to be reached – no perfect speed – and as such, social processes are increasingly driven not by rational ends, but by an indeterminate demand for acceleration that both defines and restricts the decisional possibilities of actors. In Aristotelian terms, this is a final cause – i.e. a teleology – of speed: it is not a defined end-point, but rather, a purposive aim that predicates the emergence of possibilities. By tracing this notion of telos from its beginnings in ancient Greece, through the ur-empiricism of Francis Bacon, and then to our present epoch, this paper seeks to tentatively examine the way in which such a teleology can be theoretically divorced from the idea of historical progress, arguing that the former is premised upon an untenable ontological privileging of becoming.

Keywords:time, becoming, mediation, progress, speed, teleology, bmjconvert, NotOAChecked
Subjects:P Mass Communications and Documentation > P300 Media studies
L Social studies > L370 Social Theory
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Film & Media > Lincoln School of Film & Media (Media)
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ID Code:24296
Deposited On:27 Sep 2016 09:45

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