Out of Data

Pepita Hesselberth

Discourses on Disconnectivity and the “Right to Disconnect”

November 30th 2016, 17.00-18.30, Room MS.03 (Zeeman Building, University of Warwick)

All are welcome and places are on a first come first seated basis


As part of our speaker series on the CIM research theme Out of Data, media theorist Pepita Hesselberth will reflect on contemporary discourses on disconnectivity, focusing in particular on the “right to disconnect” discussion. The right to disconnect debate was triggered in Germany by VW and BMW’s decision to put a ban on the work-related use of communicative devices after working hours, and more recently was reinvigorated in France by the amendments of article 55 of the controversial French Labor Law, in which “le droit à la déconnexion” is now enshrined.

What is noteworthy about this debate, Hesselberth claims, is that it triangulates three key concerns in the ongoing discussion on digital media that are otherwise rarely brought together, that is: first, the concern about digital labor, precarity, and the changing labor-market under the conditions of neoliberalist reform; second, the unease with the ubiquitous presence of connective media devices in our everyday environments that are biased towards constant availability; and third, the desire, or even need, to disconnect. Hesselberth will unpack these issues by considering how the (im)possibility of “opting out” of digital media is ruminated vis-à-vis the idea of labor in 1) empirical research on technology non-use; 2) critical reflections on media refusal; 3) media archeological examinations of technology resistance; and 4) tech-savvy interrogations of disruptive forms of technology use.


Bio: Pepita Hesselberth is a research fellow at the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, and Assistant Professor Film and Literary Studies at Leiden University, The Netherlands. Her research interests revolve around questions concerning the production of subjectivity and the fabric of the social within our increasingly global, networked, and media-saturated world. She is the author of Cinematic Chronotopes (Bloomsbury 2014), and, together with Maria Poulaki, the editor of Compact Cinematics: The Moving Image in the Age of Bit-Sized Media (Bloomsbury 2016). She is currently working on her project on Disconnectivity in the Digital Age, for which she received a two-year fellowship from the Danish Council for Independent Research.

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  • Lecture
  • 30 November 2016