REPAIR Scholarly Talk by Phoebe Moore

We warmly invite you to our next REPAIR Scholarly Talk! Professor Phoebe Moore (University of Essex) will give a  talk entitled Workers’ right to the subject: The social relations of data production. The event takes place on Friday 7.6. at 15:00 at Tieteiden talo, room 505 (Kirkkokatu 6, Helsinki). Discussants will be announced closer to the event.

Workers’ right to the subject: The social relations of data production

The use of data to profile and make decisions about ‘data subjects’ for citizenship, targeted advertising and other reasons, has been eminently normalised. However, the use of data to analyse and measure work and productivity of workers within algorithmic management holds different implications for working data subjects than for consumers, citizens, and other populations. Privacy and data protection and technology product safety regulation is written without sufficient recognition of the differences between data subjects’ subjective positions in power relations, and the structural features of inequality between management and workers in a capitalist data political economy. The availability for workers to find meaning, subjectivity and agency at work, are hardly supported in any work design ideologies, but now, as decisions are increasingly abstracted from machines, it is even more difficult to see how regulation can provide support for workers. Analysing the social relations surrounding policy features of ‘consent’, and ‘risk’, from the GDPR and the AI Act, Moore argues that overlooking analogue social relations of data production will lead to weakened capacity for agency and subjectivity formation and protection from data harms.

The talk is based on Professor Moore’s recent article from 2023: Workers’ right to the subject: The social relations of data production. Convergence. Online First