[iDC] Introduction re: "The Internet as Playground and Factory"

Rob Mitchell rmitch at duke.edu
Sat Jun 6 12:25:41 UTC 2009

Hi all -

Trebor has also asked me to introduce myself:

While my day job is as a literary criticism of Romanticism, I've also been working for some time on the more contemporary topic of the relationship between information technologies and the human body. Relevant to that topic, I am co-author (along with Catherine Waldby) of _Tissue Economies: Blood, Organs, and Cell Lines in Late Capitalism (Duke UP, 2006); co-author (along with Helen Burgess and Phillip Thurtle) of an interactive DVD-ROM entitled _Biofutures: Information and the Human Body_ (U Penn Press, 2008); and co-editor (along with Phillip Thurtle) of _Data Made Flesh: Embodying Information_ (Routledge, 2004).

Re: the conference, I'm interested in the ways in which both web-based genomic and medical resources, as well as more "private" medical databases (e.g., electronic patient records) are being used--or at least, set up to be used--in order to create economic value from what Waldby and Cooper have described as "clinical labor": i.e., one goes into a clinic for some particular medical need, but ends up also contributing information to databases that are then used to create economic value for for-profit medical groups. (The dynamic is essentially the same as what happens on Amazon; through grocery store scanners; etc.) Though this example is less oriented toward the entertainment and/or participatory democracy uses that one often associates with digital labor, it also highlights in particularly concrete fashion the embodied effects of many of these practices. 



Robert Mitchell, Associate Professor
Department of English, Box 90015
Duke University
Durham, NC 27708
rmitch at duke.edu

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