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Digital ghosts, global capitalism and social change

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This article traces the importance of colonial legacies for theorizing speculative capitalism by thinking from the use of digital media by indigenous social movements in the Andes. Indeed, rather than marginal to global capitalism, I maintain that indigenous peoples and media activists are at the forefront of experimenting with political and economic alternatives to capitalism. I argue that the racialized body remains tangible as digital media are read and used akin to older, analogue technology and its 'writing of light.' The desires for truth and corporeality in indigenous media point to the existence of borders from which alternatives to the current capitalist order are imagined and enacted. Similarly, in indigenous films speculative capitalism betrays its colonial constitution that ties it back to modern/colonial economic forms, rather than creating an entirely novel break with the past. In light of indigenous media digital images and the notion of immaterial labor are haunted by similar, colonial ghosts.
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Keywords: Boli; coloniality; digital media; immaterial labor; indigenous media

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Media and Cultural Studies Department, University of California, Riverside, USA

Publication date: May 1, 2009

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