POTENT SLEEP: THE CULTURAL POLITICS OF SLEEP
Why is sleep, a moment that is physiologically full and mentally boundless, thought to be a moment of absence and powerlessness? Where did this devalued notion of sleep come from and how can we situate sleep studies within a continuation of a historical processes and economic infuences? In other words, how does sleep effect and exist within systems of power? To answer these questions I turn to a range of scholarship and theoretical studies to examine the complexities and dynamics at work within the cultural discources on sleep. By creating a genealogy of sleep I am able to track the way notions of sleep have changed and evolved over time. I develope a theoretical framework to examine how the Enlightenment effected notions of sleep by strengthening a cultural disposition for logical, rational and phonomenological modes of knowledge. I find that the advent of modernity is signified by the moment in which sleep, darkness and unkowing become negative while being awake, light and knowledge become positive. To understand how sleep (and sleep studies) operates in contemporary situations I examine them within the economy of time in which clock time is conflated with money. Here I also visit the way sleep functions in relation to work in a neo-Taylorist management era. I offer an account of sleep's connections to passivity in the within patriarchal systems of thought. I determine that the cultural politics of sleep and sleep disorders point to a rift in the Western Self because of a presumed simultaneity of thinking, acting and being. I have engaged in a range of disciplines and use theory, historical studies, textual analysis , and autoethnography as methodologies to outline some of the major cultural discussions that surround sleep.
School:Bowling Green State University
School Location:USA - Ohio
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:sleep cultural politics history of sleeping theory historical studies textual analysis narcolepsy autoethnography science medicine time enlightenment night darkness alertness passivity
Date of Publication:01/01/2006