Sunday, November 28, 2004

Questions, three articles

  1. Is Kraut and Cummings's definition of computer "domestication" (as "that which is not work") defensible? Training a gender lens on it seems to produce the old, old canard that only paid work is work, and household labor is not work. (I was particularly dubious about "finance" being a "personal, leisure, non-work" use of the Internet, p. 224. I don't get paid for maintaining my household's investments, no, but it sure ain't leisure in my book.) I am tempted to wonder if the more "labor"-ish uses of the Internet were actually the wedge driving its use in the home. And how does the increasing contingent workforce (especially contractors and micro-businesses) play into this? Are they counted as "workers"?

    On the other hand, I can certainly accept their guess that increasing demographic heterogeneity in Internet use reflects the greater diversity of American homes as compared to the American workplace.


  2. Is Mark Porter's contention that software development invented "entirely new patterns and cultures of work" (p. 342 et seq.) anything more than wild ahistorical romanticism? This guy's never programmed for a living, has he?

  3. Postigo's account of the AOL situation seems to imply that community effort is incompatible with paid labor (or at least with management thereof). Is that true in all cases, or was AOL just particularly hamfisted in handling its volunteer labor force?

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