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Standby: Organizing modes of in|activity

volume 21, number 1

Standby refers to an operating state in which energy continues to flow despite an apparent shutdown, thus allowing for sudden reactivation. This special issue mobilizes the notion of standby to understand its capacities and conditions as a mode of organizing sociomaterial lifeworlds. The contributions raise questions about agency, power, and resistance that come to light when looking at how precarious life and work is trapped in-between availability and disposability; when dormant infrastructures, devices, or data become resources for organizing capitalism, biopolitics, and security; or, when outwaiting a crisis creates new forms of collectivity. The many cases assembled in this issue invite the reader to explore the sociopolitical implications of what it means to never really shut down.