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Aurialie Jublin

11 Things To Know About Abstract Labor - 0 views

  • Living labor can be understood as identity-making effort (in the absence of traditional prescriptions); it is the productivity of open-ended potentiality. You can be whatever you want (and you will have to work to become it!) Abstract labor is the quantification of that effort, conforming it to pre-existing measuring tools that allow for its commodification. It’s a matter of having oneself fitted to the yardstick. All the work of being someone can be converted to dollars.
  • A fundamental problem for capitalism: how to maintain a supply of workers who are (a) flexible, creative, and motivated to be social (work cooperatively with others to produce value) at the same time they are (b) manageable, controllable, and predictable. It must be able to extract “living labor” — the work of belonging socially — as “abstract labor” amenable to rationalization, measurement, and control and freely deployable on whatever opportunity will yield the most profit.
    "To recap: Social media are ways to contain and recapture the productive and potentially disruptive energy of the cooperation engendered by the capitalist production process, which depends on bringing workers together, dividing labor among them, and generating/capturing the surplus that emerges from their effort to work together. Cooperative efforts - sociality - are captured by social media and made into data: that is, they are made fungible, abstract, countable. This data then sets cooperative workers back into competition with one another, now competing over and in terms of measurable influence, attention, contribution, network links and so on. The struggle comes to seem like the very struggle for personal identity, but it's just the opposite; it's the struggle to render what is personal about oneself into something that is generally exploitable to whatever company wants it."
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