Today's episode features Anne Kaun, as Associate Professors at Södertörn University in the Department of Culture and Education, co-editor of Making Time for Digital Lives, and the author of Crisis and Critique: A Brief History of Media Participation in Times of Crisis. We discuss her co-authored article with Fredrik Stiernstedt entitled “Prison Media Work: From Manual Labor to the Work of Being Tracked,” from Media, Culture & Society. We discuss both the historical and global trends in the relationship between prison work and media infrastructures. Anne examines both the traditions of prison labor in building media as part of rehabilitation and professionalization, but also how it has evolved under neoliberal transformations to no longer reflect these goals. Most pointedly, she takes us through the new role of work for prisoners: acting as subjects for data analysis by large private companies looking to strengthen their algorithmic computation. Prisoners no longer do media work themselves as much as are a subject of being worked upon by media. In bringing light to this history, Kaun brings light to the complex network we live in that in many ways is shaped by prisons and the incarcerated without our knowledge.
Notes and Links to the Conversation
—More on the "smart prison" by Anne and Fredrik
—More on the work as firefighters by incarcerated individuals in California
—A brief look into the Swedish prison system and the differences from the United States