Current research:

Log out! Worker resistance within and against digital capitalism. In this research I aim at showing the central role of worker struggle, sabotage and resistance in any project of future liberation. I am the convener of a McLuhan Centre working group and the organiser of a conference on this topic. The first Log Out! conference was held in 2018, and a new edition is currently on hold due to the coronavirus crisis — but a special issue co-edited with Julie Chen is in the works at the International Journal of Communication. I am also a co-investigator in Platform Organizing, an international research collaboration led by Enda Brophy. I sometimes fantasize about writing a book titled Log Out! Maybe one day it will happen.

Remix labour. A study of the commodification of media piracy and remix cultures. Workers use radical remix techniques to produce content for the mainstream media industry. The history of the cultural industry is one of rip-off, but how do digital platforms extract value from it? TikTok is maybe the most important space for this form of remix, but it is not alone. Look up rip-o-matic videos if you want a different example. Remix labour is related to the endemic precarity of the sector, and possibly to its masculine culture of performativity too. Currently I am working with Michelle Phan on a paper entitled “Rip it up and start again: Remix and co-option in the media industry”

Things I might or might not do in the future:

Detecting democracy. With free software and Wikipedia, particle physics may be the third example of global massive collaboration around authorship. Hundreds of physicists are members of collaborations that collectively run a detector or experiment. Their decision-making processes include formal institutional hierarchies, informal kinship relations, and detailed rules for participation and dissent inscribed in their constitutions. Can they help us understand contemporary democratic forms?