Digital Labour and Karl Marx: 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Digital Labour and Karl Marx

1st Edition

By Christian Fuchs


408 pages

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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 unpaid social media prosumers or Chinese hardware assemblers at Foxconn 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.


"The field of cultural studies offers a natural window for looking more closely at the role of labor in digital media. Although some pioneers in cultural studies began important work with respect to labor, Fuchs carefully describes how cultural studies has increasingly distanced itself from questions of class. Fuchs does a remarkable job of using Marxist theory to reinvigorate the world of cultural studies. In short, the book is both encyclopedic and easily accessible. Summing Up: Highly recommended." - M Perelman, California State University, Chico, in CHOICE

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

About the Author

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. 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.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies