New School_Digital Labor


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New School_Digital Labor

  1. 1. + Care Work, Affective Labor, & Affect Digital Labor The New School February 25, 2014
  2. 2. + Care Work in the City  ―….Considering the long and rich history of the psychic reader in the city, we can say that she has always been a member of the city‘s ―support staff,‖ offering reassurance and comfort to urban dwellers, but in today‘s market the psychic has also become the very model of entrepreneurial affective labor‖ 
  3. 3. + The Who or What of Care  Take five minutes to jot down a reflection on the question: Who or what ―takes care‖ of you?
  4. 4. + Interstices of a Shifting Political Economy  Care Work (Domestic Work, Caring Labor)  Affective Labor (―Immaterial‖ Labor; Cognitive Capitalism)  Affect Itself (Human and Non-Human Actors)  Shifts:  Who is laboring?  What of the body?  What of the labor contract/wage?  What role does technology/biomedia play?  How do we understand the production of value?
  5. 5. + ―Women‘s Work‖  Marxist and Socialist Feminist analysis of the home, domestic and reproductive labor. ―It is impertant to recognise that when we speak of housework we are not speaking of a job as other jobs, but we are speaking of the most pervasive manipulation, the most subtle and mystified violence that capitalism has ever perpetrated against any section of the working class.‖ ― To have a wage means to be part of a social contract, and there is no doubt concerning its meaning: you work, not because you like it, or because it comes naturally to you, but because it is the only condition under which you are allowed to live. But exploited as you might be,You are not that work. Today you are a postman, tomorrow a cabdriver. All that matters is how much of that work you have to do and how much of that money you can get.” Silvia Federici, ―Wages for Housework‖ (1974)
  6. 6. + The Gender & Patriarchy of Unwaged Work ―Some women say: how is wages for housework going to change the attitudes of our husbands towards us? Won't our husbands still expect the same duties as before and even more than before once we are paid for them? But these women do not see that they can expect so much from us precisely because we are not paid for our work, because they assume that it is 'a woman's thing' which does not cost us much effort. Men are able to accept our services and take pleasure in them because they presume that housework is easy for us, that we enjoy it because we do it for their love. They actually expect us to be grateful because by marrying us or living with us they have given us the opportunity to express ourselves as women (I.e. to serve them), 'You are lucky you have found a man like me'. Only when men see our work as work-our love as workand most important our determination to refuse both, will they change their attitude towards us.” – Silvia Federici
  7. 7. + Care as…  A raced, gendered, and classed social relation  As invisible (or made invisible), yet necessary to Liberalism (separate spheres of public/private)  A subjectifying practice or set of relations  A site of oppression (and resistance?)  As as site of analysis  A ―way of knowing‖ (Ethic of Care)  Care as an ontological ―formation‖, a making of bodies and things
  8. 8. + Globalization, Flexibility or From Discipline to Control  ―The old monetary mole is the animal of the space of enclosure, but the serpent is that of the societies of control. We have passed from one animal to the other, from the mole to the serpent, in the system under which we live, but also in our manner of living and in our relations with others. The disciplinary man was a discontinuous producer of energy, but the man of control is undulatory, in orbit, in a continuous network. Everywhere surfing has already replaced the older sports. ―– Deleuze, Postscript on the Societies of Control
  9. 9. + The Feminization of Work  Guy Standing, The Feminization of Work (―Women‖ entering work force, causalization of work, lower wages, precarity)  Barbara Ehrenreich, Global Woman (Migration and Immigration, ―Crisis‖ of Care)  Melissa Gregg, The Normalization of Female Flexible Labor ―The circumstances in which individuals find themselves regarding their location in homes, communities and work are being transformed through the development of increasingly flexible arrangements, personal wants, and ways of talking about these. . . In many situations today, there is no choice but to make a choice. ― Gregg quoting Silva & Bennett
  10. 10. + New Labor Studies: Emotion Management  ―The Managed Heart‖, Arlie Russell Hochschild (1983)  The related term emotion work (also called "emotion management") refers to "these same acts done in a private context," such as within the private sphere of one‘s home. Three types of emotion management: Cognitive, bodily, and expressive.  Gave rise to numerous studies of ―care‖ work, its demands, and its production of value.
  11. 11. + Autonomist Marxist: Operaismo (Workerism)  Workers‘ Struggle, pushing forward capitalist development/new forms of resistance  ―The processes of modernization and industrialization transformed and redefined all the elements of the social plane. When agriculture was modernized as industry the farm progressively became a factory, with all of the factory's discipline, technology, wage-relations, and so forth. More generally, society itself was gradually industrialized even to the point of transforming human relations and human nature. Society became a factory.‖ – Michael Hardt, Affective Labor
  12. 12. + Affective/Immaterial Labor  Hardt, ―Affective Labor‖ ―Affective labor is itself and directly the constitution of communities and collective subjectivities. The productive circuit of affect and value has thus seemed in many respects as an autonomous circuit for the constitutions of subjectivity, alternative to the processes of capitalist valorization. Theoretical frameworks that have brought together Marx and Freud have conceived of affective labor using terms such as desiring production and more significantly numerous feminist investigations analyzing the potentials within what has been designated traditionally as women's work have grasped affective labor with terms such as kin work and caring labor. Each of these analyses reveal the processes whereby our laboring practices produce collective subjectivities, produce sociality, and ultimately produce society itself.‖
  13. 13. + What is Immaterial?  ―The passage toward an informational economy involves necessarily a change in the quality of labor and the nature of laboring processes. This is the most immediate sociological and anthropological implication of the passage of economic paradigms. Information, communication, knowledge, and affect come to play a foundational role in the production process.‖  ―Most services indeed are based on the continual exchange of information and knowledges. Since the production of services results in no material and durable good, we might define the labor involved in this production as immaterial labor—that is, labor that produces an immaterial good, such as a service, knowledge, or communication. One face of immaterial labor can be recognized in analogy to the functioning of a computer. ‖
  14. 14. + Wither the feminist analysis?  The other face of immaterial labor is the affective labor of human contact and interaction. This is the aspect of immaterial labor that economists like Reich are less likely to talk about, but that seems to me the more important aspect, the binding element. Health services, for example, rely centrally on caring and affective labor, and the entertainment industry and the various culture industries are likewise focused on the creation and manipulation of affects. To one degree or another this affective labor plays a certain role throughout the service industries, from fast food servers to providers of financial services, embedded in the moments of human interaction and communication. This labor is immaterial, even if it is corporeal and affective, in the sense that its products are intangible: a feeling of ease, well-being, satisfaction, excitement, passion—even a sense of connectedness or community.
  15. 15. + Cognitive Capitalism: ―The Soul at Work‖  ―Capital has managed to overcome the dualism of body and soul by establishing a workforce in which everything we mean by the Soul—language, creativity, affects—is mobilized for its own benefit. Industrial production put to work bodies, muscles, and arms. Now, in the sphere of digital technology and cyberculture, exploitation involves the mind, language, and emotions in order to generate value—while our bodies disappear in front of our computer screens....‖  ―Find your passion‖ takes on a new hue.  Care of the ―self‖ (Foucault) tension w/ entrepreneurial project.
  16. 16. + Affect  Patricia Clough, The Affective Turn ―Yet, many of the critics and theorists who turned to affect often focused on the circuit from affect to emotion, ending up with subjectively felt states of emotion – a return to the subject as the subject of emotion. I want to turn attention instead to those critics and theorists who, indebted to Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Baruch Spinoza and Henri Bergson, conceptualize affect as preindividual bodily forces augmenting or diminishing a body‘s capacity to act and who critically engage those technologies that are making it possible to grasp and to manipulate the imperceptible dynamism of affect. I want to argue that focusing on affect – without following the circuit from affect to subjectively felt emotional states – makes clear how the turn to affect is a harbinger of and a discursive accompaniment to the forging of a new body, what I am calling the biomediated body.‖
  17. 17. + Affective Facts: Brian Massumi  ―We have witnessed the birth of the affective fact as a key political operator.‖  ―So what is an affective fact? The mechanism is quite simple: Threat triggers fear. The fear is of disruption. The fear is a disruption.”  ―It is facile to accuse Bush of stupidity, and his administration of factual deception. The reality is much more complex – and far more frightening – than that. What has been described here is not a simple lack of logic or thick-skulled misrecognition of the facts. Quite the contrary, it is a positive thinking machine effectively producing its own facts of affective passage by the way in which its beginningless and endless series of partial subjects and partial objects caught up in the self-effecting of the event dynamically interpret its signs‖
  18. 18. + Spatial Politics of Affect  Nigel Thrift, Non-Representational Theory: Capitalism as ―rent seeking‖ in an ―expressive infrastructure‖ ― What I have particularly tried to suggest is that the underlying model of what constitutes ‗economy‘ is changing to what might be termed a ‗natural‘ model. This is not a natural economy from which money has been banished. Rather, it is a natural economy because it resembles the process of terraforming in that it drives practices of worlding that are concerned with producing environments (or rather, as I have tried to make clear, proto-environments), which do not just provide support for a way of life in the way of infrastructure, but are a way of life: infrastructure cannot be separated out since it too has become expressive. In these worlds, every fibre of being is bent to producing landscapes that confirm each and every moment as what will happen. This is an economy that has gone beyond ideology or hegemony in their stricter senses in that it is pre-emptive and makes its moves before the event has completely unfolded.– Thrift, The insubstantial pageant: producing an untoward land
  19. 19. + The who or the what of affect  What do we make of ―care‖ in light of the move toward affect itself? Who or what may be involved in  How can we consider the digital itself in light of care and affect?  How can we take into account the laboring body at different levels of scale?  What becomes of ―materialist‖ analysis as a basis for labor demands?
  20. 20. + Further Reading  Digital Labor Working Group:  Caring Labor 