Enjoying Machines

Enjoying Machines

Barry Brown and Oskar Juhlin

ISBN 9780262326896
232 pp.
April 2015

Content Publisher
The MIT Press

Enjoying Machines

The dominant feature of modern technology is not how productive it makes us, or how it has revolutionized the workplace, but how enjoyable it is. We take pleasure in our devices, from smartphones to personal computers to televisions. Whole classes of leisure activities rely on technology. How has technology become such an integral part of enjoyment? In this book, Barry Brown and Oskar Juhlin examine the relationship between pleasure and technology, investigating what pleasure and leisure are, how they have come to depend on the many forms of technology, and how we might design technology to support enjoyment. They do this by studying the experience of enjoyment, documenting such activities as computer gameplay, deer hunting, tourism, and television watching. They describe technologies that support these activities, including prototype systems that they themselves developed.

Brown and Juhlin argue that pleasure is fundamentally social in nature. We learn how to enjoy ourselves from others, mastering it as a set of skills. Drawing on their own ethnographic studies and on research from economics, psychology, and philosophy, Brown and Juhlin argue that enjoyment is a key concept in understanding the social world. They propose a framework for the study of enjoyment: the empirical program of enjoyment.


  1. Acknowledgments
  2. 1. Why Is Pleasure Important?
  3. 2. What Is Enjoyment?
  4. 3. Play, Games, and Enjoyment
  5. 4. Enjoyment in the Literature
  6. 5. Pleasure in Family and Friends
  7. 6. Mobility and the Flâneuring Experience
  8. 7. Media
  9. 8. Toward a Society of Happiness
  10. Appendix: Methods of Enjoyment
  11. Bibliography
  12. Index