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Notes on Immaterial Labour – Maurizio Lazzarato

Lazzarato suggests that there is a new way to define what work is nowadays.

Through our increased cultural understanding of cybernetics the concept of ‘immaterial labour’ has arose.

This has affected the role of the intellectual within society and the methods with which they deduce cultural relevance and productivity.

Increasingly there is a blur between the old notions of manual and mental labour.

In place of manual and mental labour we can use the terms material and immaterial labour.

It is also important to understand that previously defined roles such as between labour and creativity, between author and audience, between production and consumption have been transcended within the labour process and that there is more cross over, now, between these terms.

The emergence of computer managed knowledge produces knowledge differently. Knowledge and information as a result has become commodiyfable. No longer is it just the ‘informational content’ of the commodity

This highlights the shift from material (manual) labour that valued physical, finite production to immaterial (mental/intellectual) labour whose product is far more abstract and harder to quantify but none the less still easily commodified.


Three sentences.

The rise of cybernetics and the subsequent emergence of computer-managed knowledge have impacted how we value and define consumption and production. Increasingly previously defined terms such as author and audience, labour and creativity have become entwined. This has given rise to the concept of immaterial labour, which posits that intellectual labour has now become commodifiable.


One Sentence.

The impact of computer- managed knowledge has altered the way we value and produce information/understanding.