If you're in the New York metro area, you may want to check out this conference being held at The New School from Nov. 12 - 14. It's called The Internet as Playground and Factory: A Conference on Digital Labor. Here is an excerpt from the introductory page:
This conference confronts the urgent need to interrogate what constitutes labor and value in the digital economy and it seeks to inspire proposals for action. Currently, there are few adequate definitions of labor that fit the complex, hybrid realities of the digital economy. The Internet as Playground and Factory poses a series of questions about the conundrums surrounding labor (and often the labor of love) in relation to our digital present:You can read more at http://digitallabor.org/. Registration for the talks is required, but free. Hope to see you there!
- Is it possible to acknowledge the moments of ruthless exploitation while not eradicating optimism, inspiration, and the many instances of individual financial and political empowerment?
- What is labor and where is value produced?
- Are strategies of refusal an effective response to the expropriation of value from interacting users?
- How is the global crisis of capitalism linked to the speculative performances of the digital economy?
- What can we learn from the “cyber sweatshops” class-action lawsuit against AOL under the Fair Labor Standards Act in the early 1990s?
- How does this invisible interaction labor affect our bodies? What were key steps in the history of interaction design that managed to mobilize and structure the social participation of bodies and psyches in order to capture value?
- Most interaction labor, regardless whether it is driven by monetary motivations or not, is taking place on corporate platforms. Where does that leave hopeful projections of a future of non-market peer production?