Digital Labor: The Internet as Playground and Factory

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Nonspecific Binding
  • Copyright: 2012-09-19
  • Publisher: Routledge

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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.

Author Biography

Trebor Scholz is Associate Professor of Culture and Media at The New School.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Introduction: Why Does Digital Labor Matter Now?p. 1
The Shifting Sites of Labor Marketsp. 11
In Search of the Lost Paycheckp. 13
Free Laborp. 33
The Political Economy of Cosmopolisp. 58
Considerations on a Hacker Manifestop. 69
Interrogating Modes of Digital Laborp. 77
Return of the Crowds: Mechanical Turk and Neoliberal States of Exceptionp. 79
Fandom as Free Laborp. 98
The Digital, Labor, and Measure Beyond Biopoliticsp. 112
Whatever Bloggingp. 127
The Violence of Participationp. 147
Estranged Free Laborp. 149
Digitality and the Media of Dispossessionp. 165
Don't Hate the Player, Hate the Game: The Racialization of Labor in World of Warcraftp. 187
Organized Networks in an Age of Vulnerable Publicsp. 205
Thesis on Digital Labor in an Emerging P2P Economyp. 207
Class and Exploitation on the Internetp. 211
Acts of Translation: Organized Networks as Algorithmic Technologies of the Commonp. 225
Further Readingp. 241
Contributorsp. 241
Indexp. 251
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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