Liquid Labour

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“a precarious life, lived under conditions of constant uncertainty”

When I heard the topic being called “Liquid Labor” I thought it would’ve had to do with scuba diving, underwater devices, water resistant phones and watches, you get the gist….

This week’s topic however delves into the shift from industrial labor to liquid labor, and how it affects the ‘information economy’. This refers to the shift from industrial machines to information machines and assembly lines to information processing.

In previous topics in the subject, the idea of the shift from hierarchal to distributed is delved into. From the network society to the global nervous system, it is clear that decentralisation of information and being distributed freely is efficient yet a mess. This too is the case in businesses operating within the information society. Such include office jobs, and probably every single job open to BCM graduates. So in saying that, the idea of liquid labour is indeed relevant to all of us.

Take an office job for example, like Ted showed in the lecture, do you really need to be in that office environment to get work done nowadays? Now that I’ve mentioned it in earlier in the post, I guess I could use it as an example as well… if you want to bathe in water, do you really need to travel to the beach or just take a bath at home? The point I’m getting at is that with development of technology within media industries, we are given access to get the same work done in an office at home. And that’s where “liquid life” comes to play.

Liquid life refers to the convergence of production and consumption, or simply,  work and life. With the importance and need of media in our everyday lives, it is clear that work and life intertwine with each other, as leisure and work somewhat become extensions of each other. An example of this would be me working on this blog this moment, and afterwards for leisure to watch clips on youtube. For both work and leisure, I am utilising the same device, my laptop, which both can be done in an office environment or at home. That’s probably a simple way to look at it.

 

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5 thoughts on “Liquid Labour

  1. I love how you have gone about this topic by using examples to really gage a better understanding of the topic. I must say now I think I actually understand what Ted was talking about. To think that the line between work and leisure is completely blurred makes you wonder what does that mean for us? We as individuals amercing ourselves within this network paradigm what does it mean to be human and a worker? Is there a distinguishing factor anymore? Or did the line that once split the work-life balance really ever exist?

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  2. It’s very true that we really don’t need to be in the office nowadays to get work done. It is just as easy to get work done from home. I know people who have switched to working from home full time and have absolutely no trouble with it. All you really need to run a business from home is access to a computer and a phone with working internet. Have a look at these facts about email access for example (http://www.rhc.uk.com/mobile-email/). Nearly half of people with iPhones access their emails from their phone – if this is possible then we really don’t need to be in the office.

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  3. I too was confused by the concept of liquid labour, though you have managed to unpack the concept in a straightforward way. I like the water analogy and the parallels you make between the office vs home environment and how this has any impact on the actual work. A great meme too.

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  4. The way you have depicted ‘Liquid Labour’ is hilarious! It addresses the underlying transition from an industrial network of production to a more fluent one in terms of the flow of information. What does this mean to be human in this new paradigm? Will this have backlash in the way we interact with each-other? Because the trajectory of being constantly available relies on us occupying multiple places at once, whether they are physical or intangible. Thanks for sharing!

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  5. That’s a spicy meme! I enjoyed the small bits of comedy within the blog. I personally find it more difficult to work in an office space, I end up trying to distract myself, making it much more difficult to get stuff done. Great article, very informative and is accessible and understandable by anyone whether they understand the original concept of liquid labour or not.

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