Repair as Mitigation

Jackson’s essay focuses on and differentiates not only the technology available but also the psychology involved between the twenty-first century and the past. In particular, he focuses on our sense of disposability regarding matter, to an extent including commodified other people.

He states that we perceive our world as artificial or temporary, a phenomenon I agree with and believe has occurred as long as consciousness has existed. One must continuously supply oneself with water, air, doos, etc; the inevitable competition encourages self-centeredness and the consistency reinforces it. This instinct would have lessened over time, as most people (though not all) at least usually have access to their basic needs. Now, we compete for what we want, a distinctly socioeconomic shift.

For instance, phones are a social signal that are temporary, arbitrary, and require upkeep/repair. Yet people usually wish to purchase entirely new (therefore “better”) phones and only seek repair due to the cost. “Repair is about space and function,” Jackson writes, “…inherits an old and layered world…above all, repair occupies and constitutes an aftermath.” It manifests the pace of society. It’s worth noting that that society is more singular than ever before, in large part due to technology.


Repair bridges our fulfilling our actual needs and wants and fulfilling those internalized/brought on through society with the mediums of media and technology. We feel compelled to not just own but show that we own (therefore being able to afford much, therefore being more desirable). However, most of us cannot afford every single thing we want for any reason. Thus, repair exists. It also occurs to me that sentimental value can influence the attitude/repair/replacement of items. This concept has presented an obstacle for some: companies like Apple purposefully limit the extent to which one can reuse and repair their technology in order to force continued purchases and updates.


Leave a Reply