Writing The Labour of Laziness was my response to a cultural tendency to overvalue productivity in every area of human life at the cost of private freedom. I was troubled by the cross-dressing of this biopolitical, economy-based norm in ethical frills of self-improvement, self-management or political quasi-activism. And I saw this drag everywhere. I saw it in the Fitbit fad and Quantitative Movement’s encouragement to monitor my sleep-patterns and step ratio, so that I become the healthiest and most productive version of myself. I saw it in the organised leisure activities in the lives of my children’s friends, whose birthday parties would be orchestrated by skilled animators, and whose summer camps offered so many fun games that there would be no free time to do nothing. Finally, I saw it in my work place, academia. And I am not just talking about the injunction to publish more and more – the dreadful ‘publish or perish’ doctrine – or to translate individual, free thoughts into grant parlance. After all, it is not breaking news that the neoliberal academic system treats intellectual effort as a commodity....
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