Jagten på det digitale selv: En kritisk undersøgelse af biokapital værdiskabelse i den digitale tidsalder

Jon Frederik Pers

Student thesis: Master thesis


This paper investigates the contemporary form of capitalism typically defined as digital capitalism. The purpose of this project is to provide a critical investigation into ambivalences of contemporary digital value creation. In the era of digital capitalism, the self-creating individual is drawing on a range of technologies enabling him to both live a digital life and tap into networks of value creation. This paper argues that the digital capitalism is rooted in, and extracting capital value from, a sphere constituted of both physical and virtual elements through which the individual is navigating. The human body with its intellectual capacities, desires, affections, and inclinations is at the center of this industry. The valorization of cognitive capital and measurement of vital data is key both for the process of selfcreation for the individual and value creation in this form of capitalism. This paper argues that the creation of the self is directly linked to the value creation in modern capitalism. In the last two decades, innovations in the fields of computing and communication technologies started to gather around a new single paradigm of accumulation and valorization. In this paradigm, the individual is embedded in a tight web of interlinked technologies, which primary modus operandi is data collection and sense-making. On the macro level the gathering, collection, sense-making and distribution of these personal data are the resource of an information industry of unprecedented scale. Independently of the dominant convention, contemporary digital capitalism has proven to be able to absorb and capitalize new social and vital circles, involving the vital faculties of human beings, thus paradoxically rendering digital systems of value creation the most corporal form of capitalism yet. The focus of the analysis is to elucidate the zone where self-creation and value-creation coincide; a zone that is bypassed by a large part of the contemporary political discourse and economic analysis. The aim is to show that an analysis of contemporary technologies, creation of value and the human condition must take in a broader recognition and understanding of the importance of interdisciplinary methods of questioning when examining tensions between the conceptualization of value theory and human life. This paper proposes an alternative approach to the analysis of production and subjectivity. The author employs and evaluates an exploratory method to identify fiction and narratives as a valid method for social and economic science. The paper presents fictional stories as a tool to show the need for an approach capable of highlighting zones of indistinction and ambivalence inherently linked to the subject of contemporary value creation. These fictional stories enable a critical double move, which in the description of individual – micro – occurrences generates a view on highly capitalized human conditions and social relations.

EducationsMSc in Philosophy, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2015
Number of pages75