COMPASS| Critical Communication Policy Research and the Attention Economy: From Digital Labor Theory to Digital Class Struggle

Brice Nixon


In this essay, I use a critical political economy of the attention economy to develop an understanding of the ways in which communication policies distribute communicative power. The policy issues I consider are Internet regulation, copyright, paracopyright, and advertising. Communication policies are analyzed in terms of their role in determining the conditions of audience practices and distributing power in the attention economy. I use Google’s efforts to capitalize on attention to illustrate the communicative power struggle in each area, within a U.S. context.


communication policy, political economy of communication, attention economy, communicative power, digital labor, audience labor, attention, consumption, signification, exploitation

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