Non-responsiveness is commonly associated with negativity, with the pain of being ignored. We want to shift the focus from the threat that disrupted communication entails to the joy that arises from refusing to respond. In today’s information networks, it seems impossible to escape the imperative to connect. Can modes of withdrawal provide a break from 21st century regimes of transparency? Or is unavailability the necessary consequence of an emotional paradigm of independence and optimization? Not every 'I would prefer not to' can claim innocent neutrality. Without idealizing gestures of disconnection and glorifying the analogue, the pleasures of cutting ties, troubling hierarchies, and subverting responsibilities guide our argument. Some of the articles contained here explore the answers that feminist discourses provide to the pressure of making oneself available, while others interrogate cultural phenomena that emerge from new technology, such as ghosting. With the rupture of the relationship between sender and receiver, the premises of reading itself are at stake. From the German 18th century epistolary novel to contemporary American short fiction, the literature analyzed displays some of the disconcerting blind spots of narration and language. 'The Joy of Not Responding' proposes a novel paradigm for understanding the central problems of late capitalist society, one which also sheds light on the interlinking of economic, romantic, and affective spheres in ways that have, until now, not been well understood.
UnavailableThe Joy of Not Responding
»Mit diesem Band verfügen Komparatistik und Kulturwissenschaft über eine gelungene Sondierung des Feldes der Unverfügbarkeit.«
Florian Scherübl (Komparatistik. Jahrbuch der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft 2023)