Research
11.12.19

Failure, by Arjun Appadurai and Neta Alexander, explores our dependency on systems that fail.

Book looks at Wall St., Silicon Valley, and the conditions that allow us to quickly forget crises.

A new book by Arjun Appadurai, Professor of Anthropology and Globalisation at the Hertie School and Neta Alexander, Assistant Professor of Film and Media at Colgate University, explores how technological and financial systems fail to provide social well-being, while at the same time ensuring society becomes ever more dependent on them.

In Failure, published in November 2019 by Polity, the authors show how Wall Street and Silicon Valley promote the idea that scarcity should be eliminated. But Appadurai and Alexander show how, in reality, debt, crises, digital divides and (dis)connectivity are actually part of strategic and repeated failure. They look at the kinds of failures finance and technology perpetuate and monetize, and consider planned obsolescence, the precariousness of digital technologies and the “too big to fail” logic of the Great Recession.

In exploring denial, memory, and systems of control, they aim for a new understanding of the conditions that allow people to quickly forget repeated crises.

Order a copy of the book from polity here.

More about Arjun Appadurai