Immediacy and Its Hidden Infrastructure: When Amazon Extends Its Delivery Times During the Covid-19 Pandemic
Keywords:immediacy, Amazon, infrastructure, delivery, Covid-19
During the confinement due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Amazon faced crushing demands. The firm chose to extend delivery times for non-essential in-stock goods and to hire more workers. These strategies contrast with Amazon’s usual core of business: making delivery always faster and replace as soon as possible most workers by robots. By describing this transient episode of voluntarily extended delivery times by Amazon and by inscribing it in the history of immediacy as a paradoxical horizon of mediations, as discussed in the field of media theory, the article shows that Amazon’s strategies of adaptation during the Covid-19 pandemic reveal once again what media studies had already emphasized: that many technological, logistic and human mediations are required to fulfill an online order as soon as possible, tangentially immediately. The article finally highlights an understated aspect of mediations: the importance of
economic factors in shaping our societies, where shrinking spatial distances by getting separate things closer ever faster is economically profitable in spite of hidden and disastrous consequences on work conditions, on the global organization of the retailing and circulation of goods, and on the environment.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Claire Salles
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