Monday, October 27, 2008

Digital Labour Conference

Call for Papers.

Digital Labour: Workers, Authors, Citizens.

A conference hosted by the Digital Labour Group (DLG), Faculty of Information and Media Studies, University of Western Ontario, October 16-18, 2009, London, Ontario, Canada.

'Digital Labour: Workers, Authors, Citizens' addresses the implications of digital labour as they are emerging in practice, politics, policy, and theoretical enquiry. As workers, as authors, and as citizens, we are increasingly summoned and disciplined by new digital technologies that define the workplace and produce ever more complex regimes of surveillance and control. At the same time, new possibilities for agency and new spaces for collectivity are borne from these multiplying digital innovations. This conference aims to explore this social dialectic, with a specific focus on new forms of labour.

The changing conditions of digital capitalism often blur distinctions between workers, authors and citizens more often than they clarify them. Digital workers, for example, are often authors of content for the increasingly convergent and synergistic end markets of entertainment capitalism – but authors whose rights as such have been thoroughly alienated. Citizens are often compelled to construct their identities in such a way as to produce the flexible and entrepreneurial selves demanded by the heavily consumer-oriented 'experience and attention economies' of digitalized post-Fordism.

How might we come to understand the breakdown of distinctions between labour and creativity, work and authorship, value and productive excess in the new digital economy? What is labour in an era where participation in the cultural industries is the preferred conduit to autonomy and self-valorization? What struggles do entertainment workers, information workers, and workers in an increasingly digitalized manufacturing sector share in common? What might recent theorizing on the infinitely malleable 'post-Fordist image worker' tell us about the nature of affective ties to states and other political formations in the twenty-first century?

Policy makers, along with workers and union activists from the entertainment, information and manufacturing sectors will assist academic specialists in assessing these and other crucial questions.

Papers, reading no more than 20 minutes in length, that address any ofthe above matters, or cognate ones, are now being solicited. Please submit your brief abstract by February 1, 2009, to Jonathan Burston atjburston@uwo.ca. An editorial board will examine all submissions and issue acceptances no later than March 15, 2009.

Thank you for circulating this call to any researchers at your institution, or elsewhere, who may be interested.

The Digital Labour Conference Organizing Committee at the Faculty of Information and Media Studies, University of Western Ontario:

Jonathan Burston, Edward Comor, James Compton, Nick Dyer-Witheford, Alison Hearn, Ajit Pyati, Sandra Smeltzer, Matt Stahl, Sam Trosow

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