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Download Digital Labor: The Internet as Playground and Factory by Trebor Scholz PDF

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By Trebor Scholz

Digital Labor calls at the reader to envision the transferring websites of work markets to the net during the lens in their political, technological, and old making. net clients at the moment create many of the content material that makes up the net: they seek, hyperlink, tweet, and publish updates―leaving their "deep" information uncovered. in the meantime, governments pay attention in, and large enterprises tune, research, and are expecting clients’ pursuits and behavior.

This targeted selection of essays offers a wide-ranging account of the darkish part of the web. It claims that the divide among rest time and paintings has vanished in order that each element of existence drives the electronic financial system. The ebook unearths the anatomy of playbor (play/labor), the entice of exploitation and the opportunity of empowerment. eventually, the 14 thought-provoking chapters during this quantity ask how clients can politicize their complicity, create public choices to the centralized social internet, and thrive online.

Contributors: Mark Andrejevic, Ayhan Aytes, Michel Bauwens, Jonathan Beller, Patricia Ticineto Clough, Sean Cubitt, Jodi Dean, Abigail De Kosnik, Julian Dibbell, Christian Fuchs, Lisa Nakamura, Andrew Ross, Ned Rossiter, Trebor Scholz, Tizania Terranova, McKenzie Wark, and Soenke Zehle

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Extra resources for Digital Labor: The Internet as Playground and Factory

Sample text

Foxconn is the same company that has earned a toxic reputation for the militaristic labor discipline in its gargantuan factories. In 2010, a string of worker suicides focused international scrutiny on its Longhua factory campus in Shenzhen, which houses and employs an army of 400,000, mostly migrant, youth from China’s hinterland. The deaths—eighteen in all, and dozens of others narrowly averted—were widely interpreted as an existential response to the brutality of factory labor conditions, heightened by an oppressive speed-up brought on by the sharp market demand for Apple’s iPad.

In this respect, it is one more example of the twisted mentality of self-exploitation that has marched on to the killing fields of employment. Today, there is fairly broad agreement on what constitutes fair labor in the waged workplace of industry, or, to be more accurate, there are limits to the range of disagreement on the topic. People understand, more or less, what a sweatshop is, and also recognize that its conditions are unfair. By contrast, we have very few yardsticks for judging fairness in the salaried or freelancing sectors of the new, deregulated jobs economy, where any effort to draw a crisp line around work and pay (not to mention work and play) seems to be increasingly ineffectual.

The question is further complicated by the stubborn resistance of knowledge to quantification: knowledge cannot be exclusively pinned down to specific social segments. 24 The knowledge worker is a very contested sociological category. A more interesting move, however, is possible by not looking for the knowledge class within quantifiable parameters but by concentrating instead on labor. Although the notion of class retains a material value that is indispensable to make sense of the experience of concrete historical subjects, it also has its limits: for example, it freezes the subject, just like a substance within the chemical periodical table—one is born as a certain element (working-class metal) but then might become something else (middle-class silicon) if submitted to the proper alchemical processes (education and income).

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