Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Digital workers of the World unite! A framework for critically theorising and analysing digital labour

By Christian Fuchs and M Sandoval


The overall task of this paper is to elaborate a typology of the forms of labour that are needed for the production, circulation and use of digital media. First, we introduce a cultural-materialist perspective on theorising digital labour. Second, we discuss the relevance of Marx’s concept of the mode of production for the analysis of digital labour. Third, we introduce a typology of the dimensions of working conditions. Fourth, based on the preceding sections we present a digital labour analysis toolbox. Finally, we draw some conclusions. We engage with the question what labour is, how it differs from work, which basic dimensions it has and how these dimensions can be used for defining digital labour. We introduce the theoretical notion of the mode of production as analytical tool for conceptualizing digital labour. Modes of production are dialectical units of relations of production and productive forces. Relations of production are the basic social relations that shape the economy. Productive forces are a combination of labour power, objects and instruments of work in a work process, in which new products are created. We have a deeper look at dimensions of the work process and the conditions under which it takes place. We present a typology that identifies dimensions of working conditions. It is a general typology that can be used for the analysis of any production process

Topics: UOW9
OAI identifier:
Provided by: WestminsterResearch

Suggested articles


  1. (2008). Break or Weld? Trade Union Responses to Global Value Chain Restructuring. Work Organisation, Labour and Globalisation
  2. (2014). CC: Creative Commons License,
  3. (2007). Connecting Components, Dividing Communities: Tin Production for Consumer Electronics in the DR Congo and Indonesia. makeITfair Report: (accessed August 9,
  4. (1970). Exploitation in the Data Mine. In Internet and Surveillance. The Challenges of Web 2.0 and Social Media, edited by Christian Fuchs, Kees Boersma, Anders Albrechtslund and Marisol Sandoval,
  5. (2014). Fuchs and Marisol Sandoval CC: Creative Commons License,
  6. (2007). I am a Kind of Nomad Where I Have to Go Places and
  7. Late Capitalism or Industrial Society? The Fundamental Question of the Present Structure of Society. In Can One Live After Auschwitz?, edited by Rolf Tiedemann,
  8. (2012). The Audience Commodity, the Digital Labour Debate, Marxist Political Economy and Critical Theory. Prolegomena to a Digital Labour Theory of Value. tripleC:

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.