Totally Administered Heteronomy: Adorno on Work, Leisure, and Politics in the Age of Digital Capitalism

Journal of Business Ethics (forthcoming)
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Abstract

This paper aims to demonstrate the contemporary relevance of Adorno’s thought for business ethicists working in the critical tradition by showing how his critique of modern social life anticipated, and ofers continuing illumination of, recent technological transformations of capitalism. It develops and extrapolates Adorno’s thought regarding three central spheres of modern society, which have seen radical changes in light of recent technological developments: work, in which employee monitoring has become ever more sophisticated and intrusive; leisure consumption, in which the algorithmic developments of the culture industry have paved the way for entertainment products to dominate us; and political discourse, in which social media has exacerbated the anti-democratic tendencies Adorno warned of in the mid-twentieth century. We conclude by presenting, as a rejoinder to these developments, the contours of an Adornian ethics of resistance to the reifcation and dehumanisation of such developments.

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Author Profiles

Craig Reeves
Birkbeck College
Matthew Sinnicks
University of Southampton

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