New Criticals


[1] For example, how computer literacy/competency is of increasing centrality to labor.

[2] Immaterial labor is not a completely new phenomenon. Variations of “labor not recognized as such” exist in the past as well, most notably in the form of domestic and reproductive labor performed by women. For example, the reproductive labor in a 19th century family necessary to produce a population of new factory workers. Many have drawn on that kind of work to help craft the foundational scholarship that immaterial labor is rooted in. There always has been labor not recognized as such, especially when the unrecognizable labor has its sole referent in the most extreme, physically demanding, and traditional forms of labor. It is difficult to see domestic labor when the industrial factory is blocking the view.

[3] Valorization of these products cannot occur at the command of capital but capital makes sure “to retain control over the unfolding of these literalities and the processes of valorization," says Terranova.

[4] Living, human fingers are the only operators the touch screen responds to. Terranova employs The Matrix to illustrate the “classical” Marxian flesh-and-steel Frankensteinian monster. Post-Marxists theorizing the general intellect later, which opened the door for immaterial and affective labor, did not simply “stop at describing the general intellect as an assemblage of humans and machines at the heat of postindustrial production.” Still, whereas Terranova dismisses that idea, merely an “updated” classical Marxist perspective – “a world-spanning network, where computers use human beings as a way to allow the system of machinery, (and therefore capitalist production) to function” – the internet is in fact a global, connective network. To play up certain phobias as nothing but science-fiction fantasies is to undermine the some of the very real origins of those anxieties in the first place: the Industrial Revolution, the factory, the machine, and the status of the worker and his/her labor in the face of violent and destructive exploitation.

[5] Instagram was purchased by Facebook for $1 billion dollars in a deal that netted the CEO Kevin Systrom $400 million dollars and co-founder Mike Krieger $100 million dollars. Another $100 million dollars was to be paid out among the 13 other employees.


Terranova, Tiziana. Network Culture: Politics for the Information Age