Digital Capitalism and Creative Labour

Florida (2002) outlines the idea of a new age, the age of creativity. Florida’s idea is that creativity is the new economic wave or driving force in generating and stimulating economic growth, the idea of a ‘creative class’ is a necessity for cities to rethink policies to cater to the new socioeconomic class. The rise of the creative class has been influential within the US, cities compete to attract the creative class in establishing a city’s cool factor or place to be, with an emerging notion of economic growth is fundamentally informed by human creativity and human capital (Florida 2002). Florida outlines, 

 While it certainly remains important to have a solid business climate, having an effective people climate is even more essential.”  (Florida 2002) 

 This challenge old paradigms of business first but establishes the idea of investing in human capitalAlthough the works primarily focus on large US cities, these characteristics are translatable in other fabrics of society and culture, this is visible in the newly unveiled Cornwall’s Creative Manifesto (Cornwall Council 2020). Taking Florida’s (2004) concept of the “3T’s of economic development: Technology, Talent and Tolerance” is evident in the manifesto’s four main ambitions that encapsulates the three T’s (Florida 2002).  

Ambition 1 – Establishing a powerful sense of cultural identity. (Exciting, interesting place to be, idea in investing in social and cultural capital.)  

Ambition 2 – Serves to recognize areas for technological development and networking of communities, creatives, and infrastructures. (Technology)  

Ambition 3 – Highlights the idea of talent through education and inspiring service class workers the possibility to be a part of the creative class (Florida 2002, 2004). (Talent) 

Ambition 4 – Highlights the counties push in developing a sense of social cohesion as historical Cornwall is a least racially diverse place with conservation political views. (Tolerance) 

 Although it would seem the manifesto takes strides towards a combination of the 3T’s in Florida’s theory should attract but also retain the creative class. However, where Florida provides an optimistic outlook, ambition 1 embodies what Peck outlines “the solution seems to be that the working and service classes need to find a way to pull themselves up by their creative bootstraps.”. Peck questions the plausibility of engaging the remaining workforce into the creative fold, this highlights some vulnerability in Florida’s theory whereby who would still undertake the limited creative, low income, “deadening” jobs (Peck 2005)  

In comparison to the games industry, McRobbie (2016) and Ross (2004) exemplifies a similar experience to working in the games industry, outlining capitalist and neoliberal ideals to drive competition in the labour market (Peuter 2011 Ross 2004). Companies have adapted to secure the best talent, through the means of a heavily individualistic workforce coincides with Reynolds (2020) attributes defined in the lecture (Florida 2002). The game industry features precarity and non-standardized work (Peuter 2011), crunch periods and elements of gig economy often require creatives in this field to be self-motivated and exabit a labour of love, this enables companies to exploit creativity for profit.   

 

Reynolds, Dr K. 2020.[ video,]England. Week 6 – Digital Capitalism and Creative Labour. 

Florida, R. 2002. ‘The Rise of the Creative Class’, The Washington Monthly (May 2002) 

Florida, R. 2004 ‘Cities and the Creative Class’, Carnegie Mellon University. [online]. Available at: https://creativeclass.com/rfcgdb/articles/4%20Cities%20and%20the%20Creative%20Class.pdf 

Cornwall Council. (2021-2025). 2020. Cornwall Creative Manifesto: The Future of the UK’s Leading Rural Economy. Cornwall. Available at: https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/leisure-and-culture/culture-and-creative-economy/creative-manifesto-2021-2025/ 

Peck, J. 2005. Struggling with the Creative Class, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. Vol 29 (4), p.g 740-770. 

McRobbie, A. (2016) Be Creative: Making a Living in the New Culture Industries. Cambridge; Polity Press pg. 33-59 

Ross, A. (2004) No-collar: The Humane Workplace and Its Hidden Costs. Philadelphia; Temple University Press 

Greig de Peuter, ‘Creative Economy and Labour Precarity: A Contested Convergence’, Journal of Communication Inquiry, Vol. 35, No. 4 (2011). 

 

 

 

Online Communities and gender

Anderson’s (2006) work on communities looks at the imagined community of nations and nationalism but has application to both physical and virtual worlds. An imagined community explores the idea that a nation has a common ideal or interest that serves to establish their identity and their own perspective in being part of a group. Parks (2011) struggles to define the term community but outlines the recurring characteristics seen in a community, through this the idea of a community can transcend the physical realm of move into the virtual world (Parks 2011).   

Video game culture emulates much of Anderson’s (2006) concept of imagined community, games have a variety of intersecting denominators that appeals and attracts a range of individuals across a global community. WOW (World of Warcraft), an extremely popular MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online game), attracts individuals for a variety of reasons that should provide an open gaming community and bring solidarity between this community. Somethingawful and WOW can see users participate regularly and at varying levels yet still make contributions to the collective and shown to have an overriding sense of awareness of being part of a community. Differentiation takes place with social regulatory elements, Somethingawful prescribe civil behaviour in abiding to social protocols and phatic language under moderation by the admin, this may be linked to the idea that users are visible, and content posted is of a suitable nature otherwise penalties are incurred whereas WOW lack this enforcement agency (Parks 2011). 

Somethingawful has recurring themes in conjunction with Parks (2011) characteristics the forum offers space for communities to build around interests and supports marginalized groups to explore and develop a sense of identity within a care structure to support and exchange communications (Cavalcante 2016). This site takes legitimate action against microaggression even to the extent that the site provides evidence of banning or imposing sections on users for breaking the usage rules. Comments indicate male dominated with accounts of chauvinism, hegemonic masculine overtones but retains little misogynistic behaviour. This site is proactive in criticising the hegemonic role of gender, -isms and phobic rhetoric within the community to deliver civility across its users in aims to provide social cohesiveness 

The games industry is male dominated, often reflecting pop culture and society. Games are business orientated and financially driven, ‘sex sells’ is a core staple within the industry as seen in fig 3, highlights female representation within WOW and their target audience. Washko (2012) provides unambiguous evidence of toxic masculinity and misogynistic behaviour in WOW. Fig1 and 2 highlights male attitudes and marginalization of women as weak, inept, and sexualised objects. Likewise seen is Cavalcante (2016) for women to navigate this space and behaviour this may prescribe to the actions of hiding through male avatars and constructing different personality to still play in this online space (Cavalcante 2016).  

  

Fig1.

Fig2.

Fig3.

Anderson, B., 2006. Imagined Communities: Reflections on The Origin and Spread of Nationalism. Revised. London: Verso. 

Cavalcante, A. (2016) ‘“IDidItAllOnline:” Transgender identity and the management of everyday life’, Critical Studies in Media Communication, 33:1, 109-122, DOI: 10.1080/15295036.2015.1129065 

Papacharissi, Z., 2011. A Networked Self: Identity, Community and Culture on Social Network Sites. Chapter 5: Social Network Sites as Virtual Communities. M, Parks. New York: Routledge. 

Vickery, J.R. and Everbach, T. eds., 2018. Mediating Misogyny: Gender, Technology, and Harassment. Palgrave Macmillan. 

Figure 1. somethingawful.com, 2019.Leper’s Colony. [online] Available at:
https://forums.somethingawful.com/banlist.php&sort=&asc=0&adminid=&ban_month=0&ban_year=0&actfilt=-2&pagenumber=34

Figure 2.  Washko, A., 2012. The Council on Gender Sensitivity and Behavioral Awareness in World of Warcraft. [online] Angelawashko.com. Available at: https://angelawashko.com/section/302651-Images-from-Project.html [Accessed 20 November 2020].

Figure 3.  Washko, A. 2012. The Council on Gender Sensitivity and Behavioral Awareness in World of Warcraft. [online] Angelawashko.com. Available at: https://angelawashko.com/section/302651-Images-from-Project.html [Accessed 20 November 2020].

Figure 4. Blizzard. 2016. WOW: Legion Blood Elf Demon Hunter Girl Fantasy Wallpaper. [online]. Available at: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/53/fb/67/53fb67fb60f11d918cb7ce8784094593.jpg[Accessed 20 November 2020].

 

Activism In The Era Of Social Media: Key debates

Dean (2005) puts forward the idea of the fantasy of participation and technology fetishism similarly Zizek’s (1998) reflection on Marxist commodity fetishism fetishizes an object that object must be given a defining quality and endowed with mysterious power, this when applied to technology is governed by ideology structures placed on the object (Dean 2005 Zizek 1998). Social media has its place in the world’s social-economic and political structure, but it is not to say that as a tool and technology it will solve the world of its social, political, and economic inequalities (Zizek 1998). 

The process of an individual liking a post on a Facebook. The user applies their participation with interactive media, but it is the role of the object (Facebook) that is active in liking the post for the user, this can enable the user to still be socially and politically involved and yet unburned by guilt and responsibility the terms slacktivism give rise to this example, they have ‘shown’ their support/participation in engaging with a trend or topic of interest similarly liking the post actualise the showing or reciprocate the emotion in the real world. (Dean 2005 Zizek 1998 Barassi 2015). 

The notion that social media technologies by design enables individuals to rapidly and cost effectively network, organise social movements and events however due to being driven by digital capitalism this places more emphasis on generating revenue through marketing and targeted advertising campaigns. Cambridge Analytica’s ability to target population with marketing material based on their data collection and algorithms, to subtly sway voters to a political cause. Placing users in a state of fractured and fragmented communities whereby users will see and engage with subversive content in line with their own viewpoints and perspectives (Barassi 2015). 

#DresslikeAWoman serves to distinguish Brown et al’s (2017) four psychological processes that are pertinent to social movements to bring to the forefront of current social issues both on and offline. The #movement was a reaction from Trump’s alleged comments that sparked a substantial backlash with women sharing and presenting their own interpretation of a dress code across social media platforms. Brown et al (2017) shows that if the four psychological processes work simultaneously this can more produce impactful movements when organising demonstrations, creating a mass of communal solidarity and as seen in the #DresslikeAWoman.  

The # has become an icon for solidarity, reading through the Twitterverse #DresslikeAWoman likewise in the #Metoo both ideologically define strong examples of intersectionality however the outcome similarly saw predominately white women circulating mass amount of content thus a under representation of minorities (Brown 2017).   

Fig 1.

 

Barassi, V. 2015. Activism on the Web: Everyday Struggles Against Digital Capitalism. Routledge New Developments in Communication and Society Research Ser. Taylor & Francis Group 

  Brown, M. et al (2017), #SayHerName: a case study of intersectional social media activism, Ethnic and Racial Studies [online], 40 (11), pp. 1831-1846, [Viewed 27th October 2020], Available from: doi-org.ezproxy.brighton.ac.uk/10.1080/01419870.2017.1334934 

Dean, J. 2005. Communicative capitalism: circulation and the foreclosure of politics. Cultural Politics, pp.51-74. 

Zizek, S., 1998. The Interpassive Subject. [online] Lacan.com. Available at: <https://www.lacan.com/zizek-pompidou.htm> [Accessed 2 November 2020]. 

Fig1. Source: Twitter: #DressLikeAWoman. 2020. [screenshot image]. Available at: https://twitter.com/hashtag/DressLikeAWoman

From Analogue to Digital

Cramer (2015)broadly defines the term analogue in a much more refined scientific way referring to computing data through addition and subtraction that cannot be counted exactly, but later shows that analogue is a means whereby by information is created or converted into measurable continuous scale of units, an example would be that of sound or light waves (Cramer 2015).   

Using this definition, a way of defining the term analogue device is the use of a wristwatch, the hands on an analogue watch are in a continuous motion of measuring data, this being the time of day. Digital on the other hand is the opposite of analogue and processes the output data into chunked countable units, for example the hexic colour system uses code discreetly chunked information to enable the user to choose a colour (Cramer 2015).  

Post digital is not periodic but a developmental or mutation of the current state of digitalization within today’s society and culture, as a society we are in an era of the digital age everything is increasingly digital but not everything is digital. The concept proposed by Cramer (2015) is the post digital society presents a developmental or recycling of ‘old’ media using ‘new’ technologies. This refers to Cramer’s (2015) opening dialogue regarding the hipster and the typewriter meme, as a society we are no longer amazed by the digital and the element of disenchantment of digital brings in the recycling aspect of old media in new ways (Cramer 2015).

At the time conception of the print press is considered New media but was limited to directly influence how information was disseminated to the mass populous, while the development of the electronic digital computer influences the production, manipulation, storage, distribution of information this in effect puts people in a state of empowerment and active role in culturally consuming and producing media. (Manovich 2001) 

Manovich’s (2001) new media and Cramer’s (2015) works on the post digital, there are similarities where new media is not always new and reuses old media in new ways to support the functioning of the modern mass society we live in today.   The images below represent Manovich’s (2001) 5 principles that need to work in tandem;

1) The image is digitalized by the means of mathematical code to provide a digital representation to be viewed on digital devices.

2) Although a high resolution image features the image being made up of modular objects like pixels.

3) Both image embed elements of automation whereby the creator can easily edit and manipulate the meme to individual needs.

4) The images below feature striking similarity although offers variability that changes the context of the image. In the case of fig 1. Pokes fun at capitalism within the games industry that certain game with most certain profit as have done in the past.

5) Transcoding translates cultural ideas into new media, these images seek to represent the views and perspective of its creator, reflecting that of culture or community (Cramer 2015 Manovich 2001).   

Fig 1.

Fig 2.

Cramer F. (2015) What Is ‘Post-digital’?. In: Berry D.M., Dieter M. (eds) Postdigital Aesthetics. London: Palgrave Macmillan [available online at http://raley.english.ucsb.edu/wp-content/Engl800/postdigital-aesthetics.pdf amongst other places]

Jordan, T. (2015) Information Politics: Liberation and Exploitation in the Digital Society. London: Pluto. [Introduction: Information Politics” pp.1-25]

Manovich, L. (2001) The Language of New Media. London: MIT Press [Chapter one “What is New Media?” for a technical and cultural outline of what it means to call media ‘digital’. Chapter two “The Interface” for an understanding of the relationship between content and form] https://dss-edit.com/plu/Manovich-Lev_The_Language_of_the_New_Media.pdf

Fig 1. 2020. Sony Meme. [image] Available at: <https://i.redd.it/7sqkml46gv551.png> [Accessed 28 October 2020].

Fig 2. 2020. Cornavirus Meme. [image] Available at: <https://www.ubermemes.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/funny-coronavirus-memes-25.jpg> [Accessed 28 October 2020].