[Marxism] When Facebook Isn't Fun, or...

rohanger at yahoo.com.au rohanger at yahoo.com.au
Fri Mar 6 21:34:23 MST 2009

"When Facebook Isn't Fun, or, Why iLife Isn't My Life: Immaterial
Labor in the Age of Web 2.0"


I. It Is Your Patriotic Duty to Consume
Very interesting.  May I suggest that under Section II you take up explicitly the commodification of culture - that is all cultural forms: music, entertainment,.. domestic artifacts.  This is evidenced very clearly in Australia.  When Australians are questioned about what is "Australian culture" EVERY answer not related to indiginous Australians is a consumer commidity (Victor lawn-mower, Vegemite, Hills Hoist clotheslines, etc, etc) or at the least highly consumption related (eg organised sport).  The reason is that "Austrialian" cultural development (I mean mainstream) has not been pre-capitalist.  Countries with strong pre-capitalist cultural forms have cultural phenomena like festivals in which financial transactions are not a main focus.  Mainstream Australian cultural life has none of these.  In this situation the working class has largely been relegated to spectatorship rather than being participants in culture life.  Music
 culture means buying CD's to listen to on your expensive hi-fi or paying to watch a band, not getting together with friends to play instuments, unless you are unusually talented**.  With the commodification of culture it becomes increasing about passive consumption rather than active participation.  But paradoxically, the internet - itself a commodity - facilitates, at least in part, a reversal of the trend.  Blogs and other internet facilities allow for increased participation by non specialists - even if this does represent unpaid labour as you say.
"Consumption, far from being an exercise of individual freedom, is in capitalism a duty and a form of unpaid work which is essential to the ongoing survival of the system."
I think maybe you over-generalise here.  Or are you saying that lying on the deckchair of a luxery ocean liner (leisure consumption) is a form of work?  : )
Rohan G
**Karoke is a highly interesting music culture penomenom.  The transition over time has been:
1 pre-feudal: Get together with fellow community members to produce music.
2 capitalist: Pay capitalists for the opportunity to hear the specialist musician "labourers".
3 capitalist: Pay capitalists for the opportunity to perform along with prefabricated music that has been produced by specialist musician "labourers".

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