Digital Labor,
Urban Space,
and Materiality

Digital Humanities 150 | UCLA | Professor Miriam Posner

“It takes an effort to realize that the tech economy is man-made”

The invisibility of work and workers in the digital age is as consequential as the rise of the assembly line and, later, the service economy. Whether as victim, demon, or hero, the industrial worker of the past century filled the public imagination in books, movies, news stories, and even popular songs, putting a grimy human […]

Call Center Desk vs. The High Rise Office

  New heights in digital labor have resulted in accumulating executive decisions to focus production on foreign lands. This phenomenon which highlights the capitalistic realities of our digital infrastructure hold consequences. These consequences have reached a level of transparency amongst Americans as the popular trend of outsourcing of physical labor have left many unemployed Americans […]

Monitoring Youtube Content

US law enforcement tried to get videos removed from YouTube: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2011/oct/25/google-transparency-report-released Violent KZN school murder footage removed from the Internet: http://www.enca.com/south-africa/violent-kzn-school-murder-footage-removed-internet Hochschild’s notion of emotional labor reminded me of an article I read within the past year regarding individuals who monitor and remove inappropriate videos from Youtube. Unfortunately , I was unable to track down the original […]

Cyborg Telemarketing

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/12/almost-human-the-surreal-cyborg-future-of-telemarketing/282537/ I found it interesting how this week’s readings dealt with the labor of emotional work. Usually when we consider the word labor, we think of it primarily in a physical, and traditionally industrial or agricultural context, of a worker tolling away for hours in a farm or in a factory. Rarely do we associate […]

Emotional Labor

http://talkingunion.wordpress.com/2014/01/08/lyft-ridesharing-and-emotional-labor/   This weeks reading about emotional labor resonated with me. I had always wondered about the concept of emotional labor, but never had the vocabulary to think about it in the terms discussed in the Hochschild article. For me, emotional labor would be the least desirable to perform and the most taxing on my […]

Putting on a Face

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Trailer Watching the video Nalini by Day gave me a peak into the lives of people that have a completely different culture and way of life.  To me, a telemarketer job would be horrible. But in India, it is a highly regarded job that people go out of their way […]

Many Faces

The video Nalini by Day, Nancy by Night presented interesting points on the relation between worker and employer expectations. There were many astonishing things that occurred during the short film, but one that sticks out was the giving of an alias. It seemed they were being molded into someone different leaving an aspect of their […]

Content Moderation

http://illusionofvolition.com/behind-the-screen-the-hidden-digital-labor-of-content-moderators/ Sarah Roberts spoke at the Information Studies department last week. Because her discussion of online content moderation relates to our reading for the class, I’ll summarize some of the highlights from her talk here. Content moderators are people who review and perhaps remove user-generated  content on social media sites and discussion forums. Typically these […]

Farrell’s: Customer Service on Steroids

“The Managed Heart” by Arlie Russell Hochschild, focuses on the fact that, in many customer service jobs, the “emotional style of offering the service is part of the service itself” (Hochschild 5). This concept did not seem like such a novel idea to me at first, but as I read on, Hochschild began exploring the […]

Racism and Sexism in the media and it’s influence in the real world

http://www.cracked.com/article_19922_5-prejudices-that-video-games-cant-seem-to-get-over.html In “Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game: The Racialization of Labor in World of Warcraft”, Lisa Nakamura looks at the racialization in World of Warcraft targeted at Chinese player workers. This kind of video content produced by fans spreads the depictive space of World of Warcraft and creates an explicitly racial environment in […]

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