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Invisible Labor, Invisible Platforms: Gender and Affect in the Digital Economy

Date and Time: 
Thursday, June 7, 2018. 06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
Meeting Location: 
Humanities Center Boardroom
Workshop: 
Feminist/Queer Colloquium
Meeting Description: 

Is what we do on the internet work or pleasure? How can feminist understandings of affective labor help us think about the “social web”? Focusing on the online review platform Yelp, I explore the intersections of gender, affect, and labor in the Web 2.0 era. Looking specifically at Yelp’s marketing around its “Elite” program, I argue that the company leverages ideas of community to incentivize and manage content production while maintaining a position of neutrality as the “invisible” platform “that connects people with great local businesses.” At the same time, I question how Yelp’s “community-first” focus obfuscates another form of labor upon which it depends: the gendered and racialized labor of food service workers.

Annika Butler-Wall is a PhD candidate in the Department of Modern Thought and Literature.

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