Title

Vampires, Amazon.com, and Other Creatures You Should Never Invite Into Your Home: The Neoliberal Invasion Grows Even Bolder

Biographical Sketch

Bill Yousman earned his doctorate in Communication from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. His area of focus is Critical Media Studies. He is the former Managing Director of the Media Education Foundation and the current Director of the Graduate Program in Media Literacy and Digital Culture at Sacred Heart University, where he is an assistant professor in the School of Communication and Media Arts. Bill’s research focuses on media literacy education and the construction of racial ideologies in media images and narratives. He has published numerous essays in peer-reviewed journals and anthologies. His first book, Prime Time Prisons on U.S. Television: Representation of Incarceration, was published in 2009. His most recent book is The Spike Lee Enigma: Challenge and Incorporation in Media Culture (2014).

Type of Presentation

Individual presentation

Brief Description of Presentation

A critical analysis of Amazon.com's plans to bring surveillance equipment directly into our homes, how this is consistent with neoliberal ideology, and the ways that a critical media literacy perspective can illuminate the core issues related to the advancing power of private corporations.

Abstract of Proposal

“Once again...welcome to my house. Come freely. Go safely; and leave something of the happiness you bring.” Bram Stoker (1897)

In 2017, Amazon announced a new service, Amazon Key, which, according to the corporation’s October press release:

allows customers to have their packages securely delivered inside their home without having to be there. Using the Amazon Key app, customers stay in control and can track their delivery with real-time notifications, watch the delivery happening live or review a video of the delivery after it is complete.(http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20171025005287/en/)

Promising that this service will “make customers’ lives easier in many ways” and that it will enable “convenience” and “peace of mind,” the same corporate statement offers a utopian promise that “in-home delivery is backed by Amazon’s Happiness Guarantee.”

Amazon Key customers will install a “smart lock” and an in-home surveillance system, “Amazon Cloud Cam an intelligent indoor security camera” allowing for packages to be delivered directly into the home and, according to Amazon, easy access for “thousands of [service] providers.”

In this paper, I will argue that thus far most of the questions being raised about this innovation skirt the most significant and troubling concerns about the continuing insertion of powerful global corporate entities into our personal lives. While there has been some mainstream media debate about the safety of this system (whether allowing strangers access to your home could have unintended consequences including theft and home invasions), I contend that this discourse misses the most crucial issues, such as the continually advancing power of private corporations, gradual public accommodation to increasingly intrusive neoliberal practices, and disintegrating boundaries between our autonomous selves and the capitalist structures we inhabit.

Start Date

2-24-2018 9:50 AM

End Date

2-24-2018 11:20 AM

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Feb 24th, 9:50 AM Feb 24th, 11:20 AM

Vampires, Amazon.com, and Other Creatures You Should Never Invite Into Your Home: The Neoliberal Invasion Grows Even Bolder

“Once again...welcome to my house. Come freely. Go safely; and leave something of the happiness you bring.” Bram Stoker (1897)

In 2017, Amazon announced a new service, Amazon Key, which, according to the corporation’s October press release:

allows customers to have their packages securely delivered inside their home without having to be there. Using the Amazon Key app, customers stay in control and can track their delivery with real-time notifications, watch the delivery happening live or review a video of the delivery after it is complete.(http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20171025005287/en/)

Promising that this service will “make customers’ lives easier in many ways” and that it will enable “convenience” and “peace of mind,” the same corporate statement offers a utopian promise that “in-home delivery is backed by Amazon’s Happiness Guarantee.”

Amazon Key customers will install a “smart lock” and an in-home surveillance system, “Amazon Cloud Cam an intelligent indoor security camera” allowing for packages to be delivered directly into the home and, according to Amazon, easy access for “thousands of [service] providers.”

In this paper, I will argue that thus far most of the questions being raised about this innovation skirt the most significant and troubling concerns about the continuing insertion of powerful global corporate entities into our personal lives. While there has been some mainstream media debate about the safety of this system (whether allowing strangers access to your home could have unintended consequences including theft and home invasions), I contend that this discourse misses the most crucial issues, such as the continually advancing power of private corporations, gradual public accommodation to increasingly intrusive neoliberal practices, and disintegrating boundaries between our autonomous selves and the capitalist structures we inhabit.