How is labour changing in the age of computers, the Internet, and "social media" such as Facebook, Google, YouTube and Twitter? In Digital Labour and Karl Marx, Christian Fuchs attempts to answer that question, crafting a systematic critical theorisation of labour as performed in the capitalist ICT industry. Relying on a range of global case studies--from Chinese workers at Foxconn Shenzhen to miners in the Democratic Republic of Congo--Fuchs sheds light on the labour costs of digital media, examining the way ICT corporations exploit human labour and the impact of this exploitation on the lives, bodies, and minds of workers.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction 2. An Introduction to Karl Marx's Theory 3. Contemporary Cultural Studies and Karl Marx 4. Dallas Smythe and Audience Labour Today 5. Capitalism or Information Society 6. Digital Slavery: Slave Work in ICT-Related Mineral Extraction 7. Exploitation at Foxconn: Primitive Accumulation and the Formal Subsumption of Labour 8. The Division of Labour of the New Imperialism: Work in the Indian Software Industry 9. The Silicon Valley of Dreams and Nightmares of Exploitation: The Google Labour Aristocracy and its Context 10. Tayloristic, Housewifised Service Labour: The Example of Call Centre Work 11. Theorising Digital Labour on Social Media 12. Digital Labour and Struggles for Digital Work--The Occupy Movement as a New Working Class Movement? Social Media as Working Class Social Media? Glossary
Christian Fuchs is professor of social media at the University of Westminster in London. He is the author of more than 180 academic publications in the fields of Internet studies, social media studies, critical social theory and information society studies. He is the chair of the European Sociological Association's Research Network 18 and co-founder of the ICTs and Society Network. Among his publications are the books, Internet and Society, Foundations of Critical Media and Information Studies, and the collected volumes, Internet and Surveillance: The Challenges of Web 2.0 and Social Media and Critique, Social Media, and the Information Society.
"Fuchs has written a rigorous, passionate, and deeply humane book... He successfully manages to demonstrate the need to revisit Marx's work in relation to digital labour... The book is demanding, yet suitable for both dedicated Marxist scholars and readers who are less well read in Marx's work. Fuchs is thorough in detailing his reading of Marx, which can be welcome for newcomers to the field, while the argument itself and the application of Marx's work will sustain the attention of those who are better versed in the quoted texts."
- Vladimir Rizov, University of York, Marx and Philosophy Review of Books