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Reading Jonathan Crary - A Study of Scorched Earth: Beyond the Digital Age to a Post-Capitalist World (2022)

  • Journal of Popular Narrative
  • 2023, 29(3), pp.447-479
  • DOI : 10.18856/jpn.2023.29.3.013
  • Publisher : The Association of Popular Narrative
  • Research Area : Interdisciplinary Studies > Interdisciplinary Research
  • Received : August 30, 2023
  • Accepted : October 19, 2023
  • Published : October 30, 2023

Ha Seung Woo 1

1한국예술종합학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper offers a critical introduction to Jonathan Crary’s recent book Scorched Earth: Beyond the Digital Age to a Post-Capitalist World (hereafter, Scorched Earth). The theoretical trajectory of Crary’s writings can be broadly divided into a first and second half. The first half employs a Foucauldian perspective to clarify how knowledge, discourse, and power are positioned on the same social plane, while the second half articulates a more globalized critique of capitalism. In this sense, there is a significant discontinuity between early and late Crary. Scorched Earth is organized into three chapters. In Chapter 1, Crary uses the neologism “internet complex” to refer to the inextricable link between the internet and global capitalism while critically examining how the “internet complex” has produced politically powerless subjects. In Chapter 2, he scrutinizes the complicity of technological innovation and global capitalism this process. In Chapter 3, he first critically examines phenomena such as facial recognition and eye-tracking technologies and then analyzes “visual illiteracy,” which refers to a condition where humanity has lost its physical ability to communicate with nature due to its increasing reliance on artificial color. Crary proposes ecological socialism as an alternative. This paper aims to critically examine the achievements and limitations of Crary’s arguments by elucidating the main points of Scorched Earth and discussing the issues he mentions but fails to elaborate on.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.