The second chapter discusses two meanings of settings. The first pertains to the contemporary socio-historical moment, which some scholars designate as ‘hypermodern.’ In the first section of this chapter, I discuss the theoretical sources, research topics, and focus of interest of a distinctive French hypermodern perspective that attempts to understand this contemporary setting, paying special attention to the theses of acceleration and excess.
The second section of this chapter addresses the other meaning of ‘settings,’ which in computer language refers to the controls of a hardware or software that are preset by their manufacturers. As the ‘means of acceleration,’ as a mobile node of the digital apparatus, as an increasingly ubiquitous and necessary agent of everyday life, the terminal comprises five default settings: interactivity, customization, visibility, connectivity, and surveillance. Mutually reinforcing and increasingly normalized, these default settings impose a variety of social and psychological adjustments on users.