Publication details

Sacrificing Self for Surveillance Capitalism: Rating, Sharing, and Selling Secrets in Eggers’ Circle and Shteyngart’s Super, Sad, True Love



Year of publication 2019
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Education

Description This contribution examines two fictional worlds whose characters choose to have no secrets: they willingly share information regarding their deepest fears and hopes, sexual preferences, and spending power with the whole world, thus hoping to boost their social status. By reading selected scenes in the context of Shoshana Zuboff’s pioneering conception of surveillance capitalism and Michael Foucault’s thoughts on the Panopticon, this paper contextualizes the points that both novels make on how to remain human in the digital age. It then discusses such points in the context of recent use of the digital to affect human society (Vote Leave, 2016 U.S. presidential election) and shows how both novels point towards the possibility of even bleaker forms of human society than those described by Zuboff and Foucalt. Ultimately, this contribution defends the role of secrets and literature in the current world.

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