Digital Labour, Commodification and Expropriations Processes: Contributions from the Sociology of Bodies and Emotions
Digital labour studies have encompassed a variety of definitions and problem areas, including the understanding of value creation, alienation, and audiences in social networks (Fuchs and Sandoval, 2015). The complexity of the debate is related to the heterogeneity of work experiences that entail diverse labour organisation arrangements, different work environments, and a wide array of contractual relationships, among others. The mere existence of these work positions/workers suggest questions about the impact of digitalisation of human activity, that is, the social consequences associated to the connections between digital media technologies and emerging forms of labour. In this sense, the “digital revolution” applied to the “world of work” has influenced both value assessments as well as the transformation of valorisation processes through which the individual is connected to the informational context.
Addressing questions emerging from those insights, this paper explores some contributions of the sociology of the body/emotions to understand practices associated with digital labour. To do this, (i) explores theoretical debates around the definition of digital labour; (ii) develops arguments from the perspective of sociology of bodies and emotions, which allow understanding in what sense the technological mediation linked to the expansion of ICTs constitutes a reconfiguration of "the policies of the senses" (look, see, observe, touch, etc.); (iii) analyses cases of workers in ICT industries (based on testimonies and records of virtual ethnography) that allow us to connect their daily experience with certain mechanisms of expropriation and commodification of the vitality of bodies.