In this episode of the Digital Sociology Podcast I am talking to Kylie Jarrett who is a lecturer in the Department of Media Studies at the National University of Ireland Maynooth. She writes and researches on internet cultures and has written on the “culture of search” inspired by Google. But in this episode we are mainly talking about her feminist analysis of digital labour. This is a concept which has been developed to describe the value which users of the commercial internet (and particularly social media) generate through their interactions. Through a critique of some strands of “autonomist” Marxist analysis she suggests that he gendered character of this “digital labour” is often overlooked and the novelty of this situation is overplayed. Some people (usually women) have long been contributing “free labour” necessary to the functioning and maintenance of capitalism (broadly speaking social reproduction). Kylie has suggested the concept of the “digital housewife” to describe this. Social media companies have just found a particularly effective means of mobilising and monetising our everyday interactions and the maintenance of our relationships and communities. In a very entertaining discussion Kylie tells me about how an annoyance with some people overlooking the tradition of feminist work which had established these points and the dismissal of of her reading of digital labour incited her anger which she channeled into the book.
You can follow Kylie on Twitter @kylzjarrett
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