Thursday, September 27, 2012

Digital Labor: The Internet as Playground and Factory

(via e-mail)

Digital Labor: The Internet as Playground and Factory

Edited by Trebor Scholz

Digital Labor asks whether life on the internet is mostly work, or play.
We tweet, we tag photos, we link, we review books, we comment on blogs, we remix media, and we upload video to create much of the content that makes up the web. And large corporations profit on our online activity by tracking our interests, affiliations, and habits—and then collecting and selling the data. What is the nature of this interactive ‘labor’ and the new forms of digital sociality that it brings into being?

The international, interdisciplinary contributors to Digital Labor suggest that there is no longer a clear divide between ‘the personal’ and ‘work,’ as every aspect of life drives the digital economy: sexual desire, boredom, friendship—and all become fodder for speculative profit. They argue that we are living in a total labor society and the way in which we are commoditized, racialized, and engendered is profoundly and disturbingly normalized by the dominant discourse of digital culture.

Digital Labor poses a series of questions about our digital present:

How is the global crisis of capitalism linked to the hidden labor of the digital economy?

How do we address that most online interaction, whether work or play, for profit or not, is taking place on corporate platforms?

How can we acknowledge moments of exploitation while not eradicating optimism, inspiration, and the many instances of individual financial and political empowerment?

In response to these questions, this collection offers new definitions of digital labor that address and challenge the complex, hybrid realities of the digital economy.

Introduction: Trebor Scholz Why Does Digital Labor Matter Now?

I. The Shifting Sites of Labor Markets
1. Andrew Ross On the Digital Labor Question
2. Tiziana Terranova Free Labor
3. Sean Cubitt The Political Economy of Cosmopolis
4. McKenzie Wark Considerations on A Hacker Manifesto

II. Interrogating Modes of Digital Labor
5. Ayhan Aytes Return of The Crowds: Mechanical Turk and Neoliberal States of Exception
6. Abigail De Kosnik Fandom as Free Labor
7. Patricia Clough The Digital, Labor and Measure Beyond Biopolitics
8. Jodi Dean Whatever Blogging

III. The Violence of Participation
9. Mark Andrejevic Estranged Free Labor
10. Jonathan Beller Digitality and The Media of Dispossession
11. Lisa Nakamura Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game: The Racialization of Labor in World of Warcraft
IV. Organizing Networks in an Age of Vulnerable Publics
12. Michel Bauwens Thesis on Digital Labor in an Emerging P2P Economy
13. Christian Fuchs Class and Exploitation on the Internet
14. Ned Rossitter and Soenke Zehle Acts of Translation: Organizing Networks as Algorithmic Technologies of the Common