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In the Shadows of the Digital Economy: The Ghost Work of Infrastructural Labor
Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Media and Communication Studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5879-2130
University of Helsinki, Finland.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1643-7392
University of Helsinki, Finland.
University of Toronto, Canada.
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2020 (English)In: Selected Papers of Internet Research 2020, The Association of Internet Researchers , 2020, no 0Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

What does digital piecework have in common with laboring in the warehouse of a large online shopping platform? How is data cleaning related to digitization work and AI training in prisons? This panel suggests bringing these diverse ways of laboring in the digital economies together by considering these practices as infrastructural labor that takes the shape of shadow work (Illich, 1981) and ghost labor (Gray & Suri, 2019). Work and labor in modern, capitalist society imply power, authority and possibility for resistance, and these dimensions are crucial for understanding why and how infrastructures are realized and how they work. Infrastructure labor is ambiguous. It is both visible and invisible depending on the specific tasks and their inherent power relations (Leigh Star & Strauss, 1999). It includes both manual and cognitive labor. It is geared towards innovation as well as repair, maintenance and servitude. The panel aims to paint the contours of infrastructural labor at the margins of digital economies pointing towards forms of alienation and resistance that have for long been part of labor relations, but that are renegotiated in the context of emerging technologies within digital economies that need human labor to be sustained and further innovated.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
The Association of Internet Researchers , 2020. no 0
Series
AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research, E-ISSN 2162-3317
Keywords [en]
Digital Labor, digital economies, ghost work, shadow work, infrastructural labor
National Category
Media Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-52662DOI: 10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11131OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-52662DiVA, id: diva2:1810919
Conference
AoIR2020: The 21st Annual Conference of the Association of Internet Researchers, Virtual Even, October 27-31 2020.
Available from: 2023-11-09 Created: 2023-11-09 Last updated: 2023-11-09Bibliographically approved

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Kaun, AnneVelkova, JuliaStiernstedt, Fredrik

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CiteExportLink to record
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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • harvard-anglia-ruskin-university
  • apa-old-doi-prefix.csl
  • sodertorns-hogskola-harvard.csl
  • sodertorns-hogskola-oxford.csl
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf