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[liberationtech] Dallas Smythe Today
christian.fuchs at uti.at
Wed Sep 19 02:29:11 PDT 2012
Fuchs, Christian. 2012. Dallas Smythe Today - The Audience Commodity,
the Digital Labour Debate, Marxist Political Economy and Critical
Theory. Prolegomena to a Digital Labour Theory of Value. tripleC –
Journal for a Global Sustainable Information Society 10 (2): 692-740.
Due to the global capitalist crisis, neoliberalism and the logic of
commodification of everything have suffered cracks, fissures and holes.
There is a return of the interest in Marx, which requires us to think
about the role of Marxism in Media and Communication Studies. This paper
contributes to this task by discussing foundations of contemporary
Marxist media and communication studies, including a focus on the
renewed interest in Dallas Smythe’s audience commodity category as part
of the digital labour debate. Dallas Smythe reminds us of the importance
of engagement with Marx’s works for studying the media in capitalism
critically. Both Critical Theory and Critical Political Economy of the
Media and Communication have been criticized for being one-sided. Such
interpretations are mainly based on selective readings. They ignore that
in both approaches there has been with different weightings a focus on
aspects of media commodification, audiences, ideology and alternatives.
Critical Theory and Critical Political Economy are complementary and
should be combined in Critical Media and Communication Studies today.
Dallas Smythe’s notion of the audience commodity has gained new
relevance in the debate about corporate Internet services’ exploitation
of digital labour. The exploitation of digital labour involves processes
of coercion, alienation and appropriation.
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