There is a contradiction at the heart of digital media. We use commercial platforms to express our identity, to build community and to engage politically. At the same time, our status updates, tweets, videos, photographs and music files are free content for these sites. We are also generating an almost endless supply of user data that can be mined, re-purposed and sold to advertisers. As users of the commercial web, we are socially and creatively engaged, but also labourers, exploited by the companies that provide our communication platforms. How do we reconcile these contradictions?
Feminism, Labour and Digital Media argues for using the work of Marxist feminist theorists about the role of domestic work in capitalism to explore these competing dynamics of consumer labour. It uses the concept of the Digital Housewife to outline the relationship between the work we do online and the unpaid sphere of social reproduction. It demonstrates how feminist perspectives expand our critique of consumer labour in digital media. In doing so, the Digital Housewife returns feminist inquiry from the margins and places it at the heart of critical digital media analysis.
Table of Contents
Introduction: From the Mechanical Turk to the Digital Housewife 1. Sexts from Marxists and Other Stories from Digital Media’s Social Factory 2. My Marxist Feminist Dialectic Brings All the Boys to the Yard: A Feminist Critique of the Social Factory 3. Who Says Facebook Friends Are Not Your Real Friends? Alienation and Exploitation in Digital Media 4. Gifts, Commodities and the Economics of Affect 5. I Can Haz False Consciousness? Social Reproduction and Affective Consumer Labour Conclusion: Beyond Consumer Labour
Kylie Jarrett is Lecturer in the Department of Media Studies at the National University of Ireland Maynooth. With Ken Hillis and Michael Petit, she is co-author of Google and the Culture of Search and has researched a range of other commercial web platforms such as eBay, YouTube and Facebook.