Sleep is in crisis in the twenty-first-century Global North. People fail to sleep the eight hours recommended by the WHO and sleep disorders are on the rise. A medical humanities intersection of literary/cultural studies with critical theory, philosophy of technology, and STS, SCRAPS is the first study to investigate cultural engagements with this public health issue. I consider twenty-first-century Anglophone fiction, non-fiction (memoirs and self-help manuals), and digital culture (mHealth apps and sleep hygiene blogs) to advance our understanding of the impact of neoliberal ideologies on health.
The focus on cultural production serves to interrogate the crisis’s affective dimension. Through theoretically informed close readings, I explore the affects and concerns about contemporary life mobilised by the discourse of a sleep crisis and what these reveal about the relationship between individual health and neoliberal ideologies. My aim is to articulate a new theory of the affects (such as insomnia, exhaustion, burnout, and anxiety) produced by the neoliberal temporal regimes and forms of subjectivity that arguably underlie the sleep crisis.
In addition to proposing a timely scholarly intervention, SCRAPS seeks to accelerate my professional development as an interdisciplinary researcher. At META, POLIMI’s innovative network of Social Sciences and Humanities for Science and Technology, I will receive training in new methodologies from philosophy of technology and STS necessary to carry out SCRAPS’s analysis of digital culture. I will also develop my profile through an ambitious programme of dissemination. A monograph, three research articles, a field-defining conference, and an edited special issue of conference proceedings will engage interdisciplinary academic audiences. An art exhibition, articles in the media, and a website will engage the wider public. Two workshops with medical and mental health professionals will create pathways to inform medical practice.
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