[iDC] Critique (?) of "immaterial labour"

Chris Byrne chris at crowriver.net
Wed Aug 1 21:18:59 UTC 2007

Good to see iDC list back up and running. Thanks to The Thing for  
supporting the multi-layered and always interesting discussions that  
happen in this space. Below is a message which bounced from the list  
on 22nd July. Maybe I'm just an old-fashioned provocateur but here  


Again I risk being labelled "the great forwarder of messages" on this  
list. Hear me out though (or rather the author of that which I  
forward). After all, why create 'new' meaning when recycling/ 
appropriation is so much more efficient? :)

I digress. I noted recently a blog posting on 'LeisureArts' which  
takes to task the writings of both Trebor Scholz and Joasia Krysa, in  
particular their insistence on "immaterial labour" as the foundation  
for social networking phenomena of the "Web 2.0" era. The article  
focuses on key issues that iDC list has been dealing with lately, so  
it may be of interest, not least as it interrogates the arguments of  
prominent members of this network. I stress that I find the critique  
wanting, in that it relies too heavily on Baudrillard to dismiss  
Scholz and Krysa: yet what intrigues is that it finds an alternative  
source within post-Marxist theory to address the question of  
'sociable web media' (Scholz). Also, I'm not sure how to answer  
McLuhan's "rear view mirror" analogy, as cited in the blog post: it  
seems a reminder that we ought to consider certain assumptions around  
media and networks. However (frustratingly for this reader) an  
alternative thesis is not laid out. The critique is all.




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