Invisibility by Design: Women and Labor in Japan's Digital Economy (Paperback)
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In the wake of a recession and labor market deregulation in Japan during the 1990s and 2000s, online content sharing and social networking platforms were promoted as new sites of work that were accessible to anyone. Enticed by the chance to build more personally fulfilling careers, many young women entered Japan's digital economy by performing unpaid labor as "girly" photographers, net idols, bloggers, online traders, and cell phone novelists. While some women leveraged digital technology to create successful careers, most did not. In Invisibility by Design Gabriella Luk cs traces how these women's unpaid labor became the engine of Japan's digital economy. Drawing on interviews with young women who strived to sculpt careers in the digital economy, Luk cs shows how platform owners tapped unpaid labor to create innovative profit-generating practices without employing workers, thereby rendering women's labor invisible. By drawing out the ways in which labor precarity generates a demand for feminized affective labor, Luk cs underscores the fallacy of the digital economy as a more democratic, egalitarian, and inclusive mode of production.