Digital Labour and Karl Marx (Christian Fuchs): New paperback
Fuchs, Christian. 2014. Digital Labour and Karl Marx. New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-71615-4.
More information about the book:
Participate in the journal tripleC: Communication, Capitalism & Critique (http://www.triple-c.at)’s Karl Marx-lottery and win one of 6 copies of the book (see the instructions at the end of this e-mail)
How is labour changing in the age of computers, the Internet, and “social media” such as Facebook, Google, YouTube, Weibo 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. The book ''Digital Labour and Karl Marx'' shows that labour, class and exploitation are not concepts of the past, but are at the heart of computing and the Internet in capitalist society. It argues that we therefore need an engagement with Karl Marx’s theory to understand digital and social media today.
The work argues that our use of digital media is grounded in old and new forms of exploited labour. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Weibo and other social media platforms are the largest advertising agencies in the world. They do not sell communication, but advertising space. And for doing so, they exploit users, who work without payment for social media companies and produce data that is used for targeting advertisements. The book presents case studies that show that users’ activities on corporate social media is just one form of digital labour. Their usage is enabled by the labour of slaves and other highly exploited workers extracting minerals in developing countries, hardware assemblers in China, California and other parts of the world who face extremely hard working conditions that remind us of the industrial labour that Karl Marx described in 19th century Britain, low paid software engineers and information service workers in developing countries who provide labour for transnatio
nal ICT companies in the West, highly paid and highly stressed software engineers at Google and other Western ICT companies, or e-waste workers who disassemble computers under toxic conditions.
The case studies in Fuchs’ book show that the profitability of ICT companies is built on the lives and deaths of a global class of exploited workers whose labour is anonymously connected an international division of digital labour. Christian Fuchs, ''Production and use of digital media are embedded into multiple forms of exploitation. The information society is first and foremost a capitalist class society. The only solution is that we become conscious as a new working class and find ways to overcome the realities of exploitation''.
PART I Theoretical Foundations of Studying Digital Labour
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?
PART II Analysing Digital Labour: Case Studies
6. Digital Slavery: Slave Work in ICT-Related Mineral Extraction
7. Exploitation at Foxconn: Primitive Accumulation and the Formal Subsumption of Labour
8. The New Imperialism’s Division of Labour: 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, Housewifized Service Labour: The Example of Call Centre Work
11. Theorizing Digital Labour on Social Media
PART III Conclusion
12. Digital Labour and Struggles for Digital Work:The Occupy Movement as a New Working-Class Movement? Social Media as Working-Class Social Media?
13. Digital Labour Keywords
Participate in the journal tripleC’s (http://www.triple-c.at) Karl Marx-lottery and potentially win one of 6 copies of “Digital Labour and Karl Marx”: send the 2 answer of the following 2 questions, your name and postal address to [log in to unmask]
How often can the term “means of communication” be found in a) Marx’s “Capital, Volume 1” (excluding the index, the editor’s and translator’s introductions, as well as excluding the “Results of the Immediate Process of Production” included in some editions; including footnotes) and b) Marx’s “Grundrisse” (including the table of contents and footnotes; excluding the index, editor’s or translator’s introductions, including footnotes)
Closing date: Thursday, May 15. 18:00 BST
The winners will be drawn among the correct answers. If less than 6 sent-in answers are correct, then those answers whose guess is closest will be considered.