The Ambivalent Position of Sleep within the Current Work Regime: A Conceptual DiscussionEmir Kurmuş, Çağatay Topal
Sleep is attracting increasing medical and psychological research interest as well as media interest. This study investigates the socio-economic processes behind this growth in interest. It proposes an analytical framework that examines sleep in the relationships among the body, work, and the rhythms of everyday life within the constraints of today’s capitalist work regime. In this framework, the concept of time pressure is significant for understanding practices and approaches to sleep, as well as the structural processes and contradictions of contemporary capitalism. Having a work life and accelerating one’s social life are the main determinants of time experience. While sleep, which is a very important part of an employee’s life, becomes limited or restricted, it is nevertheless essential for the sake of efficiency and continuing activity in business and daily life. This study investigates the ambivalent position of sleep with reference to Hartmut Rosa’s concept of social acceleration. This ambivalent position is found to be constructed by the trio of acceleration, flexibility, and time pressure, and it is essentially defined by capitalism.
Günümüz Çalışma Rejiminde Uykunun İkircikli Konumu: Kavramsal Bir TartışmaEmir Kurmuş, Çağatay Topal
Uyku son yıllarda yaygınlaşan bir şekilde tıbbi ve psikolojik araştırmaların, medyada çeşitli haberlerin konusu olmaktadır. Bu çalışma, uykuya yönelik artan ilginin altında bazı sosyo-ekonomik süreçlerin olduğunu iddia etmekte; günümüz kapitalist çalışma rejimindeki beden, iş ve gündelik yaşamın ritimleri arasındaki ilişki üzerinden uykuyu inceleyen bir analiz çerçevesi önermektedir. Bu çerçeve içerisinde hem günümüz toplumundaki uyku pratikleri ve uykuya bakış hem de günümüz kapitalizminin bazı yapısal süreçleri ve çelişkileri zaman baskısı kavramı etrafında tartışılmaya çalışılmıştır. Kapitalizmin güncel koşullarındaki zaman deneyimini temel olarak çalışma yaşamındaki esnekleşme ve sosyal yaşamın hızlanması şekillendirmektedir. Zorunluluklarla şekillenen arzulardaki hızlanma ve esnekleşme yeni bir tür beden disiplinini zorunlu kılmaktadır. Süre olarak çalışanların yaşamının çok önemli bir bölümünü kapsayan uyku bir yandan kısmen ya da tamamen feragat edilebilir bir pratik haline gelirken, bir yandan da iş ve gündelik yaşamdaki etkinliklerin verimli bir şekilde devamı açısından kritik bir yerde durmaktadır. Bu çalışmanın amacı uykunun bu çelişkili konumunu esas olarak Hartmut Rosa’nın sosyal hızlanma kavramından hareket ederek, hızlanma, esnekleşme ve zaman baskısı üçlüsünün oluşturduğu ve temelde kapitalizmin tanımladığı sosyal zemin üzerinden açıklamaktır.
This study proposes a conceptual framework within the discipline of sociology to the problem of sleep, accepted as a natural activity of human beings. Based on Hartmut Rosa’s (2009, 2013) concept of social acceleration, this study focuses on the ambivalent position of sleep, revealed within the tripartite relationship of social acceleration, flexible working regimes, and time pressure. The claim of the study is that this position is determined within the interaction of deceleration and acceleration. Sleep, perhaps the most important deceleration practice in human life, has both preventive and supportive functions in capitalist acceleration. The combination of these two functions, which seem to be in opposition, indicates the ambivalent position of sleep at the present time.
The first contemporary sociological studies on sleep were shaped by the medicalization debate. Kroll-Smith and Gunter (2005, p. 363) found a constructed discourse on healthy sleep, indicating how sleep should be shaped. Emphasizing that insomnia poses risks to individual health, public health, and the economy, they showed that a new truth about sleep was being constructed. However, Kroll-Smith and Gunter do not address the question of why this health discourse was constructed. The proliferation of a health discourse on sleep indeed points to structural transformations and problems. This study argues that increased discourse on sleep is not a coincidence, and this increase is associated with changes in temporal norms and the structures of economic and social life. Sleep practice can be used not only to examine the position of sleep in today’s society, but also to examine the basic structures of the society in question itself and the time experience that they generate.
Time is the precondition for thought to develop on the stability, contradiction or transformation within social order and society (Šubrt & Cassling, 2001, p. 212). Without accounting for the dimension of time, it is impossible to understand the features and transformations of modernity and capitalism (Rosa, 2009, p. 79). It is important to understand the temporal structures and time-use practices to establish the necessary link between the macro and micro dimensions of social experience. Nevertheless, according to Rosa and Scheuerman (2009, p. 15), the mainstream social sciences are afraid to underline the need for a serious analysis of social temporality. Although these structures themselves have opposed or contradictory consequences, temporal structures can be considered to be a point of connection for the integration and coordination of social and individual perspectives. The integration between macro and micro rhythms does not arise or function automatically. For this integration to properly impose itself, a power network that feeds and functions in different fields is necessary. This marks a line that expresses the close connection between the personal and the social. Ignoring dominant temporal norms and social rhythms can lead to social sanctions and exclusion. Thus, the question “Why do I use my time the way I use it, and how should I use it?” is among the most fundamental social and political questions, both in terms of analyzing existing structures and developing the perspective of transforming this structure (Rosa & Scheuerman, 2009, p. 16).
This article offers a conceptual framework according to which the rhythms of the body can be dealt with in relation with the rhythms of capitalism. In this context, both the effort to improve harmony and coordination between rhythms and conflicts and contradictions are emphasized. This study proposes a framework that does not ignore the distinctions between the historicity of social time, as conditioned by the mode of production, and the experiences of different social groups in different places (see Colley, Henriksson, Niemeyer, & Seddon, 2012). The basic concept used for this purpose is that of social acceleration, as developed by Hartmut Rosa (2009, 2013). Another process related to acceleration, to be discussed over the time theme, is the flexibility of the working regime. This article will primarily examine acceleration and flexibility in the context of time pressure. This discussion is undertaken to show that the triad of acceleration, flexibility, and time pressure are the defining elements of today’s capitalism. The article will then seek to make sense of the position of sleep in capitalism for the result of these three processes. Finally, the ambivalent nature of the position of sleep in the interaction of deceleration and acceleration will be analyzed. This study will thus provide a framework that places sleep within processes of acceleration, flexibility, and time pressure, and thus contribute to understanding the ambivalent status of sleep in capitalism in the context of the intertwined relationship between deceleration and acceleration