Digital Labor

David Hakken


David Hakken directs the Indiana University program Social Informatics (SI), which is the study of what happens when digital technologies (DTs) are used by people. David has received grants, from NSF, SSRC, the Fulbright Program, two universities and other not-for-profit and state organizations. He ran the SUNYIT Policy Center, was president of the Society for the Anthropology of Work of the American Anthropological Association, the first recipient of the AAA’s Prize in Anticipatory Anthropology, and received teaching and scholarship awards. Besides scholarly and popular articles, he has written four books on computing and co-edited another, most recently The Knowledge Landscapes of Cyberspace (2003, Routledge). The next Routledge book, Values and the Making of Cyberspace: Common Devices? comes out in 2015.

After Capital? Values, Commons, Computing, and the Search for a Viable Future
My current Routledge book addresses what might happen After Capital? Values, Commons, Computing, and the Search for a Viable Future. My co-authors (Italian Maurizio Teli and Barbara Andrews) and I presume that current social arrangements will not insure long-term social reproduction, so we need to create a replacement social order. We focus on the potential of selected forms of computing, like participatory design, that “informate” rather than automate; that foster processual rather than structural, and service rather than production, approaches to organization; a “free software” rather than an “open source” approach to achieving “openness”; embody serious sustainability, a social constructivist rather than technicist perspective on technology, a nuanced understanding of the complex phenomena associated with globalism, and broader understandings of “the economic”; and increase access to the means of cultural reproduction.

In my presentation for the conference, I will address emerging, digitally-mediated forms of work and labor, to identify those which, even if currently bent to the reproduction of capital, contain such potential and thus prefigure such an alternative social order. Of central concern will be how such prefigurative practices can assume “common pool resource” form, as well as necessary accompanying state forms. My ultimate goal is to suggest a Utopian project that builds on popular identification of computing with social change and alternative futures. 

Search, Data Flows, & Vertical Extraction
Fri, November 14
02:15 PM - 04:45 PM