The Neoliberalization of Sleep
A Discursive and Materialist Analysis of Sleep Technologies
This article explores the implications of sleep apps which are sociologically significant in that they represent an attempt to colonize, exploit, and make profitable one of the last vestiges of the human lifeworld through discourses of self-subjectification, authenticity, and self-improvement. I assess the websites of two sleep tracking apps (Pillow and Sleep Score) using critical discourse analysis (CDA), new materialism, and autoethnography. I make the case that the neoliberal values associated with the use of these apps perpetuate the logic that a better sleep makes for a more productive worker, better citizen, and ideal consumer subject. I also demonstrate how these apps function to open new sites of potential profit and reproduce a form of embodied neoliberal subjectivity generated by intra-active entanglements between identities, technologies, and discourses. Finally, I take up the issue of marginalization and intersecting subject positions as it relates to inequalities that these sleep trackers might exacerbate.
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