greg.goldberg at yahoo.com
Thu Jun 12 15:47:51 UTC 2014
Hi all --
I'm an assistant professor of sociology at Wesleyan University, currently working on a book about various political/economic anxieties expressed in thinking/writing about the internet, including concerns that the boundary between work and play/leisure are shifting or dissolving.
The paper I'll be giving at the conference examines arguments that play/leisure has become work or work-like across two registers: 1) in the harvesting of value from users’ leisurely participation online, and 2) in the informal design, relaxed norms, and unusual amenities which sometimes structure “creative class” workplaces in the tech sector. I argue that these approaches are motivated by an underlying and disavowed rejection of play/leisure as a narcissistic, irresponsible endeavor, and that the problem for scholars is not the exploitation of users/workers, but rather the looming dissolution of certain forms of sociality historically tied to labor—those that elicit responsibility, obedience, and sacrifice—and the concomitant unleashing of ego. This rejection of play is similarly present in analyses that identify alienation (rather than exploitation) as the problem with "data labor" (as Trebor Scholz has called it). Rather than taking concerns about user/worker exploitation at face value, I reframe these concerns as symptoms of anxiety stemming from this dissolution—an anxiety that works to reconstitute a boundary between work and leisure, and in so doing to (re)produce a properly socialized subject, i.e. a subject disabused of the prospect of getting something for nothing.
Looking forward to joining you all at Digital Labor in November! And thanks to the organizers for putting together what promises to be a stimulating and interesting conference.
Department of Sociology
238 Church St.
Middletown, CT 06459
(860) 685 3825
ggoldberg at wesleyan.edu
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