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Resistance in the Deceleration Lane

Velocentrism, Slow Culture and Everyday Practice

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Marzena Kubisz

Motivated by a desire to reflect critically on the ways in which speeds, both high and low, and their representations affect the construction, deconstruction and reconstruction of meanings around particular cultural texts, images and practices, Resistance in the Deceleration Lane uses the velocentric perspective to examine the phenomenon of «slow living» and its rhetoric. The book analyzes cultural practices which are inspired by the conviction that the increased speed of everyday life cannot be accepted unquestioningly. It portrays slowness as a strategy of contestation and resistance on one hand, and on the other it highlights the process of the gradual commercialization of the slow logo and suggests the rise of a post-slow stage in the history of speed.
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Chapter Two: Streamlined Culture and the Rise of the Mis-man

Extract



But today a new form of speed permeates society […].

Robert Hassan, Empires of Speed

“Demand more from your broadband,” suggests British Sky Network helpfully and makes an advertising slogan work as an emblem of the type of lifestyle which in conditions of excess, acceleration and hyper-individualism has been extensively naturalized. “Demand movies with a muffin, songs at the station and browsers at the bar. With thousands of WiFi hotspots from The Cloud Sky Broadband Unlimited lets you demand it all,”1 asserts the ad, while sketching a portrait of a mutifunctional individual and marking the contours of what may be described as his “technologically natural” environment. Although to say that today an individual is a nomad permanently on the move is to verge dangerously on platitude, it is precisely this piece of common knowledge that reflects the character and extent of changes brought about by the development of technologies of mobility. As Andreas Schafer and David. G. Victor claim, “[t]oday, world citizens move 23 billion km in total; by 2050 that figure grows to 105 billion.”2 Though physical mobility has reached an unprecedented scale, it is not its quantative but rather qualitative dimension that requires new analytical approaches. Equipped with the props of new speed, a modern nomad is evolving into a “digital nomad”3 who does not circumscribe his life space – he annuls boundaries by opening them wide. The car ceases to be a symbol of mobility; now it is an...

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