Machines & Measure
Moore, P.V., Briken, K., Engster, F. 'Machines and Measure' (Oct 2019), Special Issue of Capital & Class, “Machines & Measure”, edited by Phoebe V. Moore, Kendra Briken, Frank Engster, Forthcoming
5 Pages Posted: 13 Nov 2019
Date Written: October 29, 2019
This Special Issue, entitled ‘Machines & Measure’, is largely the dissemination from a workshop held at University of Leicester School of Business, organised by editor Phoebe Moore, for the Conference for Socialist Economists (CSE) South Group in February 2018, which was hosted by the University of Leicester School of Business, Philosophy and Political Economy Centre. The collection provides a carefully selected, representative collection of articles and essays which address the questions and disturbances that drove the event’s concept, those being, as articulated in the event description: How are machines being used in contemporary capitalism to perpetuate control and to intensify power relations at work? Theorizing how this occurs through discussions about the physical machine, the calculation machine and the social machine, the workshop was designed to re-visit questions about how quantification and measure both human and machinic become entangled in the social and how the incorporation and absorption of workers as appendages within the machine as Marx identified, where artificial intelligence (AI) and the platform economy dominate today’s discussions in digitalised work research. Stemming from Marxist critical theory, questions of money, time, space are also revisited in the Special Issues articles, as well as less debated concepts in rhythmanalysis and a revival of historically frequently discussed issues such as activities on the shop-floor; where a whole range of semi-automated and fully automated methods to manage work through numeration without, necessarily, remuneration continue. Articles ask the most important questions today and begin to identify possible solutions from a self-consciously Marxist perspective.
Keywords: Machines, Measure, Quantification, Gig Work, Artificial Intelligence, Assemblage, Marx, Factory, Algorithms
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