Adam Haley, PhD

ARTICLE: Traveling Through Corporate Time: Inevitability and (Anti-)Corporate Narrative Form

Here’s the abstract for my article on Continuum, published December 2015 in New American Notes Online‘s “Corporations and Culture” issue:

In light of the increasing prevalence of corporations in pop-cultural dystopian futures, this essay investigates the relationship between corporations and inevitability, arguing that this relationship conditions the way the future is imagined.  Through a reading of the television series Continuum, it asks what the narrative contours of the corporation are, whether an anti-corporate narrative form is possible, and how such a form might reconfigure understandings of corporations and possible futures.  Ultimately, the essay identifies the trope of time travel as a key component of the corporation’s self-narration and suggests that any anti-corporate narrative form must emerge out of this recognition.

A snippet of the article itself:

Through this network of associations, in particular its mediation between narratives about corporations and the corporation as itself a kind of narrative machine, the cultural specter of the corporation usefully indexes the shape of inevitability in a broad swath of contemporary thoughts and fears about the future. Insofar as futurity continues to take on increasing significance as an object of rhetorical struggle, economic investment, and political imagination, its ongoing restructuring by corporate entities assumes great urgency. But the corporation’s influence on the structures of future-thinking goes beyond real-world corporate ownership of cultural production and distribution venues; it has to do, rather, with the corporation’s own narrative machinery, the ramifications that that machinery has outside of the corporate assemblage, and the way that machinery interfaces across legal, political, economic, and cultural registers. In this light, I propose, the corporation writ large might function most saliently not as one component of this or that seemingly inevitable future, but as part of the very structure of inevitability as such, the vector along which the future comes increasingly to seem predetermined, its particular fixtures unavoidable and thus not worth debating or resisting. Thus, the contemporary dystopian fear par excellence: not just that the corporation is inevitable, but that inevitability might be somehow ineluctably corporate.

You can read the full article here.


Adam Haley • December 28, 2015

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