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Title: Into the social factory : an investigation into labour & value in the video-games industry
Author: Rodgers, Thomas Arthur
ISNI:       0000 0004 6351 9512
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2016
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Questions regarding the relationships between new media technologies and contemporary capitalist dynamics are currently subject to considerable discussion and debate across myriad academic disciplines and schools of thought — notably (but not exhaustively) within various fields of sociological inquiry, current strains of Marxism and political economy, marketing theory and research, literature concerned with intellectual property and legal rights, and a whole host of other lines of investigation into the nature of production/consumption, labour/leisure, work/play, and their apparent commingling within a world predominated by the presence of new media. This thesis contributes to this debate in several ways. Firstly, it seeks to establish a set of theoretical trajectories, and gives consideration to the ‘post- industrial’ and ‘information society’ literature. This consideration reveals a noticeable marginalisation of the question of capitalism in the extant literature and research. As such, a turn to Autonomous Marxism and the ‘social factory’ thesis is suggested as a much-needed starting point for investigating the interrelations between new media technologies and (post- Fordist) capitalism. The thesis then raises points of critique to rethink the need for both (a) a conceptual understanding of the relations between capitalist dynamics, new media, and socio- economic change, and (b) research into specific (new) media industries and their attendant modalities of production and valorisation. The investigation then returns to Marx’s formulation of the qualitative and quantitative dimensions of production, surplus value, and cooperation in order to consider how this can be mobilised as a foundational viewpoint from which to consider the sociality of production as central to the formation of economic life in general. From here, the thesis outlines the concept of ‘sympathetic cooperation’ (Terranova, 2014) and the proposed problem of the incommensurability of social production as two key framing devices for the case study on labour and value in the video games industry. Finally, these considerations are put to work through a two part case study on the video games industry that proceeds, firstly, to detail the history of its configurations of labour and value as it has developed since the 1960s; and secondly to investigate some of the prevalent directions of this new media industry’s strategies for identifying and valorising potential sources of value — for seeking out the hitherto un-valorised.
Supervisor: Martin, Daryl ; Gane, Nick Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available