by Precarity Lab


by Precarity Lab


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An analysis that traces the role of digital technology in multiplying precarity.

Technoprecarious advances a new analytic for tracing how precarity unfolds across disparate geographical sites and cultural practices in the digital age. Digital technologies—whether apps like Uber, built on flexible labor, or platforms like Airbnb that shift accountability to users—have assisted in consolidating the wealth and influence of a small number of players. These platforms have also exacerbated increasingly insecure conditions of work and life for racial, ethnic, and sexual minorities; women; indigenous people; migrants; and peoples in the global south. At the same time, precarity has become increasingly generalized, expanding to include even the creative class and digital producers themselves. 

This collaboratively authored multigraph analyzes the role of digital technology in multiplying precarity. The authors use the term precarity to characterize those populations disproportionately affected by the forms of inequality and insecurity that digital technologies have generated despite the new affordances and possibilities they offer. The book maps a broad range of digital precarity—from the placement of Palestinian Internet cables to the manufacture of electronics by Navajo women and from the production and deployment of drones on the U.S.–Mexico border to the technocultural productions of Chinese makers. This project contributes to, and helps bridge, ongoing debates on precarity and digital networks in the fields of critical computing, postcolonial studies, visual culture, and information sciences.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781912685981
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 11/24/2020
Pages: 132
Product dimensions: 4.90(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Precarity Lab brings together an intergenerational network of scholars and activists at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, to explore how digital cultures produce, reproduce, and intervene in precarity. Anna Watkins Fisher, Silvia Lindtner, Ivan Chaar-Lopez, Cengiz Salman, McKenzie Wark, Kalindi Vora, Jackie Wang, Cass Adair, Lisa Nakamura, Cindy Lin, with Meryem Kamil.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

List of Contributors ix

A Note on Precarity xii

The Precarity Effect 1

The Undergig 16

Techno Toxic 24

The Widening Gyre of Precarity 32

Automating Abandonment 38

Fantasies of Ability 49

Dispossession by Surveillance 57

The Affronted Class 65

Restoring the Depleted World 74

Covens of Care 81

Notes 87

Glossary 98

Bibliography 101

Index 111

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