Immaterial Labor Maurizio Lazzarato A significant amount of empirical research has been conducted concerning the new forms of the organization of work. This, combined with a corresponding wealth of theoretical reflection, has made possible the identification of a new conception of what work is nowadays and what new power relations it implies. An initial synthesis of these results - framed in terms of an attempt to define the technical and subjective-political composition of the working class can be expressed in the concept of immaterial labor, which is defined as the labor that produces the informational and cultural concent of the commodity. The concept of immaterial labor refers to two different aspects of labor. On che other hand, as regards the activity that produces the "cultural content" of the commodity, immaterial labor involves a series of activities that are not normally recognized as "work" - in other words, the kinds of activities involved in defining and fixing cultural and artistic standards, fashions, tastes, consumer norms, and, more strategically, public opinion. Once the privileged domain of the bourgeoisie and its children, these activities have since the end of the s become the domain of what we have come to define as "mass intellectuality.
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The Restructured Worker Lazzarato starts with post-fordism, where workers have greater agency and responsibility, who is an "interface In this environment, argues Lazzarato, "the capitalist needs to find an unmediated way of establishing command over subjectivity itself.
The "tone" of Taylorism remains, but the means change. Lazzarato says that this highlights a dilemma for companies, who must support autonomy of workers while also meeting the requirements of production. Lazzarato argues that this model "threatens to be even more totalitarian than the earlier rigid divisions betwene mental and manual labor Nor does this production happen in factories, but in networks of "reproduction and enrichment" ,7.
The reult is an independent "self-employed" worker, "an intellectual proletarian" marked by "precariousness, hyperexploitation, mobility, and hierarchy" , 7. In this context of ad-hoc creative cooperation, the unit of analysis is not the factory but the project.
Lazzarato also notes that "in this kind of working existence it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish leisure time from work time Lazzarato calls it "living labor. The Autonomy of the Productive Synergies of Immaterial Labor Lazzarato argues that immaterial labor occurs when companies co-opt a wider capacity for social labor "takes it on board and adapts it" , 8.
Lazzarato makes an argument about classical economics versus system theory, suggesting that if we move beyond them, we can define "a space for radical autonomy of the productive synergies of immaterial labor" , In effect, Lazzarato argues that social production offers the possibility of a "silent revolution" beyond capitalism.
The Cycle of Immaterial Prodution Lazzarato argues that role of communication is the key distinguishing feature between Fordism and post-Fordism. Consumption becomes "consumption of information" ,1. Large-Scale Industry and Services Lazzarato describes how older forms of labor are transformed in post-Fordism: Postindustrial enterprises "are founded on the manipulation of information.
In this context, "the audience Because audience reception, a creative act in its own right, becomes part of the product, companies must struggle to control and subordinate that creative response ,5. Secondly, companies find themselves under pressure to conform to public values as they creatively respond. Theoretical and practical relevance: This paper offers a profoundly helpful link between trends in political economy towards postindustrial, post-fordist, post-Taylorist economic models and trends in HCI and data analysis towards the behavioural sciences, especially in the areas of online creativity.
Dugul It mobilizes important communication and marketing labpur in oazzarato to gather information recognizing the tendencies of the market and circulate it constructing a market. The Autonomy of the Productive Synergies of Immaterial Labor My working hypothesis, then, is that the cycle of immaterial labor takes as its starting point a social labor power that is independent and able to organize both its own work and its relations with business entities. Immaterial labor continually creates and modifies the forms and conditions of communication, which in turn acts as the interface that negotiates the relationship between production and consumption. If this model had some probability of corresponding to the dynamics of the market of immaterial labor at the moment of the birth of mass consumption whose effects Simmel very intelligently anticipatesit could laboir be utilized to account for the relationship between immaterial labor and consumer-public in postindustrial society. I should point out that what I am describing is not some utopian vision of recomposition, but the very real terrain and conditions of the conflict between social classes.
Digital Capitalism[ edit ] Studies of immaterial labor have included analysis of high-technology industries, although immaterial labor is understood as a concept far pre-dating digital technologies, specifically in the performance of gender and domestic roles, and other aspects of affective and cognitive work. The social-wage campaign, Wages for housework , co-founded in in Italy, by Selma James called for a wage for domestic work amidst the uneven and gendered privatization of the labor of social production, where traditionally feminine roles like care work are undervalued. This relationship between craft and industrial labor ties into larger concepts of gender stereotypes, surveillance, and the identity politics of globalization. Her historical research lends itself to this broader discussion, "They were cited as evidence that digital work—the work of the hand and its digits—could be painlessly transferred from the indigenous cultural context into the world of technological commercial innovation, benefiting both in the process. Creative works[ edit ] The idea of "creative labor" has been analyzed in the context of immaterial labor.
Biography[ edit ] Lazzarato studied at the University of Padua in the s, where he was active in the Autonomia Operaia movement. He left Italy in the late s for exile in France to escape political prosecution, although the charges against him were abandoned in the s. He is also interested in the concepts of biopolitics and bioeconomics. Works on debt[ edit ] Lazzarato has written two closely related works on the subject of debt , The Making of the Indebted Man  and Governing by Debt.