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Towards an immanent critique of the attention economy: labour, time, and power in post-Fordist capitalism

Celis Bueno, Claudio 2015. Towards an immanent critique of the attention economy: labour, time, and power in post-Fordist capitalism. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This thesis develops an immanent critique of the concept of attention economy from the perspectives of labour, time, and power. The attention economy is a notion forged by authors belonging to the field of political economy in order to explain the growing value of human attention in societies characterised by post-industrial modes of production. In a world in which information and knowledge become central to the valorisation process of capital, human attention becomes a scarce and hence increasingly valuable commodity. At the same time, the attention economy turns human attention into a form of labour and hence into a new mechanism of capitalist exploitation. Using a series of contemporary readings of Marx (Postone; Lazzarato; Negri and Hardt;Deleuze and Guattari), this thesis develops a critique which does not simply apply Marxist categories to the object of the attention economy, but which uses the attention economy as a concrete object of analysis for reflecting upon both the validity and the importance of Marx‟s critique of political economy for a critique of contemporary capitalism. In other words, this research suggests that, although the attention economy has indeed turned human attention into a new form of labour, it is only through a systematic reinterpretation of Marx‟s categories that this claim can be fully grasped. This reinterpretation comprises two general aspects. Firstly, this thesis argues that the way in which the attention economy produces and exploits value puts into crisis the traditional category of labour based on an industrial mode of production and which relies solely on abstract labour time as its general equivalent. This calls for an analysis of the labour-value relation from the standpoint of the endogenous transformation of capitalism. Secondly, this thesis suggests that the attention economy operates as a concrete power mechanism which reterritorializes the unleashed productive powers in order to reproduce capital‟s command over human activity. This requires addressing the specific transformations of the diagram of power from disciplinary societies towhat Deleuze has defined as societies of control.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 14 Apr 2022 09:39

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