Metaphors of free labor: A typology of unpaid work in the media sector
2016 (English)In: Media Culture and Society, ISSN 0163-4437, E-ISSN 1460-3675, Vol. 38, no 7, 963-978 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Over the last decade, free labor has emerged as a key analytical tool for understanding new or semi-new forms of labor in the contemporary digital economy. This article critiques and develops this concept, with specific reference to work in the media industries, by presenting a historically grounded typology of free labor that also highlights some of the analytical problems with the current use of the concept. Our typology presents seven metaphors of free labor based on historical instances of roles people have taken on when performing unpaid labor: those of The Slave, The Carer, The Apprentice, The Prospector, The Hobbyist, The Volunteer, and The Patsy. A key conclusion is that free labor is performed by different actors at either end of increasingly complex and temporally stretched out value chains. This necessitates a more fine-grained and historicized use of the concept of free labor.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2016. Vol. 38, no 7, 963-978 p.
Free labor, media industries, metaphors, typology, value, work
Media and Communications
Research subject Media and Communication Studies
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-42301DOI: 0163443716635861ISI: 000384457400001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-42301DiVA: diva2:930304