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47

Georg Lukács as a Communications Scholar: Cultural and Digital Labour in the Context of Lukács’ Ontology of Social Being

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Fuchs, C. (2016). Georg Lukács as a Communications Scholar: Cultural and Digital Labour in the Context of Lukács’ Ontology of Social Being. In Fuchs, C. Critical Theory of Communication: New Readings of Lukács, Adorno, Marcuse, Honneth and Habermas in the Age of the Internet. University of Westminster Press, pp. 47-74

61

[...] It would however be idealistic to limit the notion of digital labour to the exploitation of users’ online activities by commercial platforms that use targeted advertising or to the creation of digital content that is sold as a commodity. The creation of digital content requires a technological infrastructure that is produced and maintained by labour processes (Fuchs, 2014, 2015). Digital labour is all paid and unpaid labour that helps creating digital technologies, content, and data that is sold as a commodity. It includes diverse activities such as slave-labour extracting minerals that form the physical foundation of information technologies, the labour of militarily controlled and highly exploited hardware assemblers who work under conditions of Taylorist industrialism, a highly paid knowledge labour aristocracy, precarious digital service workers as well as imperialistically exploited knowledge workers in developing countries, workers conducting the industrial recycling and management of e-waste, or highly hazardous informal physical e-waste labour (Fuchs, 2014, 2015). Such forms of digital labour form an international division of digital labour that creates the digital media industry’s profits (ibid.). Why is it important to have such a unified concept of digital labour? Nick Dyer-Witheford (2014, 175) provides an answer: ‘To name the global worker is to make a map; and a map is also a weapon’. So what Nick Dyer-Witheford points out is the political relevance of a critical theory of digital media: it names and analyses the problem and can thereby point citizens, classes and social groups towards what is wrong and what contradictions they face.

—p.61 by Christian Fuchs 3 years, 4 months ago

[...] It would however be idealistic to limit the notion of digital labour to the exploitation of users’ online activities by commercial platforms that use targeted advertising or to the creation of digital content that is sold as a commodity. The creation of digital content requires a technological infrastructure that is produced and maintained by labour processes (Fuchs, 2014, 2015). Digital labour is all paid and unpaid labour that helps creating digital technologies, content, and data that is sold as a commodity. It includes diverse activities such as slave-labour extracting minerals that form the physical foundation of information technologies, the labour of militarily controlled and highly exploited hardware assemblers who work under conditions of Taylorist industrialism, a highly paid knowledge labour aristocracy, precarious digital service workers as well as imperialistically exploited knowledge workers in developing countries, workers conducting the industrial recycling and management of e-waste, or highly hazardous informal physical e-waste labour (Fuchs, 2014, 2015). Such forms of digital labour form an international division of digital labour that creates the digital media industry’s profits (ibid.). Why is it important to have such a unified concept of digital labour? Nick Dyer-Witheford (2014, 175) provides an answer: ‘To name the global worker is to make a map; and a map is also a weapon’. So what Nick Dyer-Witheford points out is the political relevance of a critical theory of digital media: it names and analyses the problem and can thereby point citizens, classes and social groups towards what is wrong and what contradictions they face.

—p.61 by Christian Fuchs 3 years, 4 months ago