Digital Marx: Toward a Political Economy of Distributed Media

  • Andreas Wittel Nottingham Trent University
Keywords: Marx, labour, value, property, struggle, political economy of media, digital, distributed media, mass media, internet, network


This is the claim: In the age of mass media the political economy of media has engaged with Marxist concepts in a rather limited way. In the age of digital media Marxist theory could and should be applied in a much broader sense to this field of research. The article will provide a rationale for this claim with a two step approach. The first step is to produce evidence for the claim that political economy of mass media engaged with Marxist theory in a rather limited way. It is also to explain the logic behind this limited engagement. The second step – which really is the core objective of this article – is an exploration of key concepts of Marx’s political economy - such as labour, value, property and struggle - and a brief outline of their relevance for a critical analysis of digital media. These concepts are particularly relevant for a deeper understanding of phenomena such as non-market production, peer production, and the digital commons, and for interventions in debates on free culture, intellectual property, and free labour.

Author Biography

Andreas Wittel, Nottingham Trent University
Andreas Wittel is a Senior Lecturer at Nottingham Trent University, School of Arts and Humanities. He is currently interested in the intersection between digital media and critical theory.
Marx is Back-The Importance of Marxist Theory and Research for Critical Comm. Studies Today, ed C. Fuchs & Vincent Mosco