[CITASA] Workshop: Marx’s Labour Theory of Value in the Digital Age

Christian Fuchs christian.fuchs at uti.at
Mon May 26 13:36:13 EDT 2014


Workshop: Marx’s Labour Theory of Value in the Digital Age

COST Action IS1202 “Dynamics of Virtual Work”, 
http://dynamicsofvirtualwork.com/
The Open University of Israel.
June 15-17, 2014.

Recent developments in digital technology, from “social media”/”web 2.0” 
such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Weibo, LinkedIn, Pinterest, 
Foursquare, etc to mobile devices, have spurred new forms of production. 
A variety of terms has been used to describe new production practices 
and new products enabled by the Internet: participatory culture, 
co-creation, mass collaboration, social production, commons-based peer 
production, mass customization, prosumption, produsage, crowdsourcing, 
open source, social production, user-generated content, user 
participation, folksonomics, wikinomics, collaborative innovation, open 
innovation, user innovation.
These terms and debates are often over-optimistic, celebratory and lack 
a critical understanding of “social media” – they do not engage with the 
social problem-dimension of the “social”. The multiplicity of neologisms 
is also a symptom of a “technologistic” outlook, which assumes that each 
technical innovation brings about a paradigmatic change in culture and 
in society and more democracy and a better society. While such 
multiplicity of terms attests to a phenomenology of technological 
innovation and diversity, it is also an analytical and theoretical 
liability. Concurrent with this dominant approach, there have been 
attempts for a systematic critical analysis of new forms of online 
production, digital labour and commodification on social media through 
the prism of the labour theory of value. Such theoretical approaches 
attempt to apply a unified conceptual framework in order to gain better 
understanding of the socio-economic foundations of digital media and the 
social relations, power relations and class relations that they 
facilitate. They also help to connect these new productive practices 
with a longstanding theoretical tradition emerging from Marxian 
political economy.
The role of Marx’s labour theory of value for understanding the 
political economy of digital and social media has been a topic of 
intense work and debates in recent years, particularly concerning the 
appropriateness of using Marxian concepts, such as: value, 
surplus-value, exploitation, class, abstract and concrete labour, 
alienation, commodities, the dialectic, work and labour, use- and 
exchange-value, General Intellect, labour time, labour power, the law of 
value, necessary and surplus labour time, absolute and relative surplus 
value production, primitive accumulation, rent, reproductive labour, 
formal and real subsumption of labour under capital, species-being, 
collective worker, etc.
The critical conceptualization of digital labour has been approached 
from a variety of critical approaches, such as Marx’s theory, Dallas 
Smythe’s theory of audience commodification, Critical Theory, Autonomous 
Marxism, feminist political economy, labour process theory, etc. In this 
workshop we explore current interventions to the digital labour theory 
of value. Such interventions propose theoretical and empirical work that 
contributes to our understanding of the Marx’s labour theory of value, 
how the nexus of labour and value are transformed under virtual 
conditions, or they employ the theory in order to shed light on specific 
practices.
The Israeli location will provide an opportunity to explore some issues 
pertinent to digital technology in the local context, including a 
lecture on the Palestinian Internet and a tour exploring techniques of 
separation and control along the separation wall in Jerusalem.

Keynote talks:
Noam Yoran: The Labour Theory of Television, or, Why is Television Still 
Around
Christian Fuchs: The Digital Labour Theory of Value and Karl Marx in the 
Age of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Weibo
Anat Ben David: The Palestinian Internet

The programme features the following talks:
* Andrea Fumagalli: The concept of life subsumption in cognitive 
bio-capitalism: valorization and governance
* Bingqing Xia: Marx's in Chinese online space: some thoughts on the 
labour problem in Chinese Internet industries
* Brice Nixon: The Exploitation of Audience Labour: A Missing 
Perspective on Communication and Capital in the Digital Era
* Bruce Robinson: Marx's categories of labour, value production and 
digital work
* Eran Fisher: Audience labour: empirical inquiry into the missing link 
of subjectivity
* Frederick Harry Pitts: Form-giving fire: creative industries as Marx’s 
‘work of combustion’”
* Jakob Rigi: The Crisis of the Law of Value? The Marxian Concept of 
Rent and a Critique of Antonio Negri`s and his Associates` Approach 
Towards the Marxian Law of Value
* Jernej Prodnik: Media products and (digital) labour in global 
capitalist accumulation: A preliminary study
* Kylie Jarrett: The Uses of Use-Value: A Marxist-Feminist contribution 
to understanding digital media
* Marisol Sandoval: The Dark Side of the Information Age - Arguments for 
an Extended Definition of Digital Labour
* Olivier Frayssé: Cyberspace ground rent, surplus value extraction, 
realization, and general surplus value apportionment
* Sebastian Sevignani: Productive prosumption, primitive accumulation, 
or rent? Problematising exploitation 2.0
* Thomas Allmer: Digital and Social Media Between Emancipation and 
Commodification: Dialectical and Critical Perspectives
* Yuqi Na: Capital accumulation of targeted advertising-based capitalist 
social media. What do people in the UK and China think about it and why? 
A Marxist perspective

If you wish to attend the workshop, please contact RSVP Eran Fisher: 
eranfisher at gamil.com








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