Friends like mine: the production of socialised subjectivity in the attention economy

Thayne, Martyn (2012) Friends like mine: the production of socialised subjectivity in the attention economy. Culture Machine, 13 . ISSN 1465-4121

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Abstract

Through the lens of political economy, this article seeks to interrogate the emerging interrelationship between capital, labour, subjectivity and affect which has become prevalent within a number of online social networking technologies and practices. Using Facebook as a case study, close consideration is given to the significance of the ‘Like’ button, which I contend must be seen as a social-technological interaction which captures the emotive connections and engagements produced amongst the multitude of Facebook users. Through an exploration of such collaborative, socialised and affective modes of subjectivity which emerge from the use of these tools, I suggest that proprietary online social networks are central to the subsumption of the surplus value of forms of life itself, drawing on recent work which aligns the biopolitical production of knowledge, affect, desire, attention and sociality with modes of immaterial labour. Presented here, then, is a critique of those mechanisms of power which permeate Facebook, one which examines how specific functions, protocols and applications may embody the productive power of technology in the context of configuring attention and controlling social interactions.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Through the lens of political economy, this article seeks to interrogate the emerging interrelationship between capital, labour, subjectivity and affect which has become prevalent within a number of online social networking technologies and practices. Using Facebook as a case study, close consideration is given to the significance of the ‘Like’ button, which I contend must be seen as a social-technological interaction which captures the emotive connections and engagements produced amongst the multitude of Facebook users. Through an exploration of such collaborative, socialised and affective modes of subjectivity which emerge from the use of these tools, I suggest that proprietary online social networks are central to the subsumption of the surplus value of forms of life itself, drawing on recent work which aligns the biopolitical production of knowledge, affect, desire, attention and sociality with modes of immaterial labour. Presented here, then, is a critique of those mechanisms of power which permeate Facebook, one which examines how specific functions, protocols and applications may embody the productive power of technology in the context of configuring attention and controlling social interactions.
Keywords:Attention Economy, Social Media, Subjectivity, Dividuation, Control Society, Facebook, Affect, Immaterial Labour, bmjdoaj
Subjects:G Mathematical and Computer Sciences > G420 Networks and Communications
L Social studies > L150 Political Economics
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Media
ID Code:6146
Deposited By: Martyn Thayne
Deposited On:15 Sep 2012 20:23
Last Modified:13 Mar 2013 09:13

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