[iDC] Play, Labour & Herbert Marcuse

Christian Fuchs christian.fuchs at sbg.ac.at
Sun Oct 11 17:36:07 UTC 2009

Dear Margaret and Eva,

Some people have pointed out to me that I mixed up Farm Life with the 
game in question, Farmville, a very popular Facebook game application. 
Thanks for that, obviously I am not a computer game expert. Farmville is 
free to use, does not cost money, and has no advertising, profit is 
generated by selling virtual farm coins and virtual farm cash to users 
and by trying to trick ever more Facebook friends into the game as 
virtual commodity buyers. So the accumulation strategy is related to the 
one of Second Life, you buy virtual money as commodity that enables you 
to play the game and produces actual money profit for a corporation. The 
players here are not surplus value producers, they are consumers and 
realize surplus value that is produced by the game designers. However, 
you could say that the labour of tricking users to invite their Facebook 
friends to use the game significantly contributes to surplus value 

I think that comparisons between bees or birds or any other animals to 
humans in a metaphorical or non-metaphorical way should be avoided and 
that they are dangerous too. Hitler and the Nazis did it by comparing 
Jews to rats, insects, etc, so the danger of such comparisons is to end 
up in biologism or eco-fascism. biologism is a logically necessary 
element of fascist ideology. The danger is one of reductionism, to 
reduce humans and to deny their specifity. So what I am arguing for is a 
socialist humanism, humanist socialism.

Of course gender should be mentioned as very important aspect of 
Haraway's cyborg concept, based on which she has contributed to 
cyberfeminism. The problem that I have with Haraway's cyborg concept is 
that she in my view tends to collapse differences into unity, which 
risks degrading humans to the same analytical and logical level as 
machines, animals, etc (as is done in actor network theory). humans are 
not machines, humans are no animals, they are primarily different from 
such systems, and secondarily connected to technical and material 
systems. Haraway's cyborg-concept is in my view undialectical, that is 
the problem that I have with it, it is a form of conflationism, what I 
am missing in the Cyborg-Manifesto is the logical figure of unity in 
diversity. In terms of the gender aspect of the cyborg, I think much was 
said on that topic in the controversy between Norman O'Brown and Herbert 
Marcuse in 1967 following the publication of O'Brown's book "Love's 
Body" and I found Marcuse's position quite reasonable. Haraway would 
more take the position of O'Brown in that discussion. O'Brown did not 
speak of cyborgs, but it is basically what he meant.


- - -
Priv.-Doz. Dr. Christian Fuchs
Associate Professor
Unified Theory of Information Research Group
ICT&S Center
University of Salzburg
Sigmund Haffner Gasse 18
5020 Salzburg
christian.fuchs at sbg.ac.at
Phone +43 662 8044 4823
Personal Website: http://fuchs.uti.at
Research Group: http;//www.uti.at
Editor of 
tripleC - Cognition, Communication, Co-Operation | Open Access Journal for a Global Sustainable Information Society
Fuchs, Christian. 2008. Internet and Society: Social Theory in the Information Age. New York: Routledge. 

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