The Digital Factory

Altenried, Moritz. 2018. The Digital Factory. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This thesis researches the transformation of labour in digital capitalism. Specifically, it is interested in sites where digital technology brings forth labour relations characterised by rationalisation, standardisation, and decomposition, as well as the precise surveillance and measurement of labour. The notion of the digital factory is put forward to conceptualise this tendency of labour and to argue that digital capitalism is not characterised by the end of the factory, but by its explosion, multiplication, and spatial reconfiguration.

The empirical investigation is based on four case studies on the transformation of labour under digital conditions: labour in logistics, in video games, on digital crowdwork platforms, and in social media. By analysing the changing labour process, the changing forms of social division and cooperation, as well as the infrastructural and spatial reconfiguration induced by the increasing pervasion of digital technology, the thesis strives to analyse and theorise a specific tendency of labour in the contemporary.

By focusing on this tendency of labour, the thesis contributes to the broad field of critical analysis and theorisation of the transformation of labour under digital conditions. While many approaches tend to foreground the creative, communicative, or artistic features of (dig¬ital) labour in the contemporary moment, the notion of the digital factory highlights diver¬gent effects and sectors in order to contribute to a multifaceted empirical and theoretical understanding of labour in digital capitalism.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):

Additional Information:

An indefinite embargo applies to the full text for reasons of third-party copyright. The printed thesis will be available for reference in Goldsmiths College Library from 1st June 2021.


Digital Capitalism, Labour, Class Composition, Logistics, Factory, Migration

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Centre for Cultural Studies (1998-2017)


31 May 2018

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

05 Jul 2018 10:35

Last Modified:

07 Sep 2022 17:13


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