Microserfing the Third Wave: The Dark Side of the Sunrise Industries

Rob Latham

in Consuming Youth

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2002 | ISBN: 9780226468914
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226467023 | DOI:
Microserfing the Third Wave: The Dark Side of the Sunrise Industries

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This chapter describes the popular journalistic and fictional treatments of the rise of computer industries. Both Alain Touraine and Daniel Bell argue that the rise of postindustrial society has produced a logic of resistance to the increasingly fossilized norms of capitalist social organization. The Silicon Valley firm is a cyborg formation, a hybrid of human dynamism and machinic proficiency. The Fordist dream of leisure industries generating eternal youth for productivist purposes has transmogrified into the post-Fordist dream of youthful leisure generating productivist industries. Microserfs by Douglas Coupland convincingly expresses the discouraging range of employment options available to young people in the computer industry. It also mounts a sophisticated interrogation of the ways that contemporary youth and high technology are complexly cyborgized. There may well be fresh possibilities for consumer pleasure and autonomy in interactive media that are radically incommensurable with a model of consumption based on passive appropriation.

Keywords: computer industry; Silicon Valley; Alain Touraine; Daniel Bell; Microserfs; Douglas Coupland; consumption

Chapter.  17361 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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