Friday, September 17, 2004

Questions, Downey article

  1. I doubt I'd ask this if the article author weren't teaching the class, but nonetheless: Why the apologetic captatio benevolentiae stance in the opening section? What is the methodological, ethical, or other problem with analyzing a phenomenon in which one happens to have participated? Julian Orr was a copy-machine repairman himself; Jackie Rogers was a temp. That hasn't brought their work into question that I'm aware. So why apologize?

  2. The article discusses how researchers are now making certain classes of information labor (e.g. women, freelancers, production workers) visible that had been swept under the carpet. How'd they become invisible to researchers in the first place? Is it (as implied) just a thoughtless error of emphasis, or is something else at work?

  3. Is collectivization our best or our only response to the growing problem of low-wage low-status work? As information laborers of one stripe or another, what is our recourse, what is our likeliest plan of action, to keep our dignity and raise society's perception of our value? Consider the Schlage workers in the film, whose merely obsolete skills were compared to the nonexistent (with relation to that job, anyway) skills of a fast-food restaurant worker. Moreover, is "information laborer" really the right scale to use when considering labor action? Do we need a broader perspective?

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