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  • Goodbye iSlave : Making Alternative Subjects Through Digital Objects

    Jack Linchuan Qiu

    Chapter from the book: Chandler D. & Fuchs C. 2019. Digital Objects, Digital Subjects: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Capitalism, Labour and Politics in the Age of Big Data.


    In his 2016 book Goodbye iSlave, Jack Qiu contends that features of enslavement have crept into digital media industries, leading to the worsening of labour conditions along the assembly line and in the data mine, creating a generation of iSlaves trapped in a global economic system that relies upon and studiously ignores their oppression. How can people fight back, start a new abolition movement, using conventional tools of activism as well as the same digital media instruments such as the smartphone? Drawing from his fieldwork in China, lessons from history, and studies of contemporary campaigns against Foxconn and Apple, Qiu contends in this paper that the expansion of slave systems is always accompanied by endeavours of antislavery when the exploited resist the powers that be, when citizens join the struggle to set humanity free. Although digital abolition at its present stage is still inchoate, it is undoubtedly an important first step. Its long-term implication shall not be underestimated. iSlaves have nothing to lose but their chains; they have a world to win.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Qiu, J. 2019. Goodbye iSlave : Making Alternative Subjects Through Digital Objects. In: Chandler D. & Fuchs C (eds.), Digital Objects, Digital Subjects. London: University of Westminster Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16997/book29.l

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    Published on Jan. 29, 2019