Panel 04: Individual (Dis)Empowerment

Abstract Title

"Internet Gaming Addiction": Pathological Landscape and Contemptible Materialisms

Presenter Information

Clayton RosatiFollow

Start Date

13-2-2015 3:00 PM

End Date

13-2-2015 4:20 PM

Abstract

The hotly debated inclusion of gaming addiction and other forms of Pathological Use of Electronic Media (PUEM) in the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-V has increased international discourse about people’s pathological and debilitating relationships with technology. Some reports are suggesting that 18.5% of the US population has this disorder. While the moral panics spiraling within this discourse span many obvious territories, most of the varying medical narratives depict a future of research on technology’s individualized impairment of human social capacities: professional failure, social alienation, and even death. Much of the contemporary discussion of this pathological condition is materialist at its core, in that it focuses the nature of genetic and brain “differences.” But this materialism veers dangerously towards eugenics—some bodies are normal, others are not. Most contemporary critical work has shied away from the concept of “pathology” for this reason, in favor of an anti-normative politics of difference. But, such an approach leaves us increasingly ill-equipped to deal with actually existing forms of “incapacitation” like poverty, systemic violence, and addiction, all social in nature and often part of larger socio-economic projects. In response, an understanding of pathology as imbricated in landscapes of “incapacitation” is useful, such that we are able to then see this “problematic” functioning non-individualistically, or as socially produced. To do this, pathology and addiction must be seen as simultaneously internal and external, individual and social. And, as such, further it must be seen within a context of systemic incapacitation. Materialist approaches can also be crucial here to such extensions of incapacitation beyond the individual—but what kind of materialism? Here I will, following Delueze, explore a reappraisal of aspects of Marxian materialism in cultural studies to understand this systemic condition of incapacitation and refer to it as capitalist poverty.

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Feb 13th, 3:00 PM Feb 13th, 4:20 PM

"Internet Gaming Addiction": Pathological Landscape and Contemptible Materialisms

The hotly debated inclusion of gaming addiction and other forms of Pathological Use of Electronic Media (PUEM) in the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-V has increased international discourse about people’s pathological and debilitating relationships with technology. Some reports are suggesting that 18.5% of the US population has this disorder. While the moral panics spiraling within this discourse span many obvious territories, most of the varying medical narratives depict a future of research on technology’s individualized impairment of human social capacities: professional failure, social alienation, and even death. Much of the contemporary discussion of this pathological condition is materialist at its core, in that it focuses the nature of genetic and brain “differences.” But this materialism veers dangerously towards eugenics—some bodies are normal, others are not. Most contemporary critical work has shied away from the concept of “pathology” for this reason, in favor of an anti-normative politics of difference. But, such an approach leaves us increasingly ill-equipped to deal with actually existing forms of “incapacitation” like poverty, systemic violence, and addiction, all social in nature and often part of larger socio-economic projects. In response, an understanding of pathology as imbricated in landscapes of “incapacitation” is useful, such that we are able to then see this “problematic” functioning non-individualistically, or as socially produced. To do this, pathology and addiction must be seen as simultaneously internal and external, individual and social. And, as such, further it must be seen within a context of systemic incapacitation. Materialist approaches can also be crucial here to such extensions of incapacitation beyond the individual—but what kind of materialism? Here I will, following Delueze, explore a reappraisal of aspects of Marxian materialism in cultural studies to understand this systemic condition of incapacitation and refer to it as capitalist poverty.