William Davies’s 2023 LRB Winter Lecture looks at why reactions – facial expressions, gestures or emojis – have become the main currency of the digital public sphere. Ubiquitous surveillance and smartphones have made the spontaneous reaction a thing to be cultivated, collected and stored. How did we come to endow reaction with such significance, and what might an escape from the reaction economy look like?

Listen to Davies discuss this lecture on the LRB Podcast, and read the lecture here.

Recorded at Conway Hall, London, on 10 February 2023.

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

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