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Published: 04 May, 2010

New book: The Secret World of Doing Nothing

NEWS Billy Ehn, Professor of Ethnology in the Department of Culture and Media Studies at Umeå University, has co-written a book titled “The Secret World of Doing Nothing” published by the University of California Press. It is described as an insightful and groundbreaking reflection about what happens when, to all appearances, absolutely nothing is happening.

The book focuses on the unobserved moments in daily life such as when you are waiting for a bus, daydreaming by the window or performing a routine task - and sheds light that these "empty" moments are actually full of significance. In addition to the authors' own research, the book provides an overview with examples drawn from literature and previous ethnological research.

Billy Ehn and co-author Orvar Löfgren, Professor of Ethnology at Lund University, persuade the reader to rethink the ordinary and find meaning in today's hypermodern reality.

Selected book review: "This is a beautifully written and elegant book, deeply thoughtful but accessible to anyone. The Secret World of Doing Nothing is an essential field guide for understanding daily life; a delightful way to find out what is going on in the heads of people waiting, standing in lines, daydreaming and seemingly doing nothing. Ehn and Lofgren open a door into a hitherto hidden world in the mundane details of daily life; they uncover a trove of valuable insight into contemporary society, emotions, and morality. Who would think that looking at nothing could be so enlightening?"
—Richard R. Wilk, Indiana University

Read more about The Secret World of Doing Nothing, by Billy Ehn and Orvar Löfgren

Contact informationProfessor Billy EhnDepartment of Culture and Media Studies, Umeå UniversityPhone: + 46 (0)90 786-5567

Editor: Helena Vejbrink