Cognitive Capitalism and Immaterial Labour: Connal Parsley

Topics in Critical Thought is returning to OSE with four more sessions throughout September and October.

This session on cognitive capitalism and immaterial labour looks at the ‘Should I Work for Free’ flowchart by Jessica Hische, the blog post ‘Cognitive Capitalism: What Is It, If Anything?’ by Alex Sayf Cummings and Kai van Eickels’ “What Your Spontaneity is Worth to Us: Improvisation between art and economics”. Facilitated by Connal Parsley.

Please find the readings here, here and here.

Does it ever seem to you that nothing in contemporary life lies beyond the tendency to commodification and competition? Anything you can think of, no matter how seemingly insignificant or intangible, today seems to make someone a profit. From data generated by browsing youtube, to “innate” cultural knowledge, to
what’s trending in pre-teen peer groups, today it is not only physical “work” that generates financial value. Some strands of thought suggest that this is not an accident, but is the very basis of how the economy (and society) work today. “Cognitive capitalism” and “immaterial labour” are terms that have been popularised in recent decades in the process of thinking in detail about this kind of
economy. In this session, we will look at these terms paying specific attention to creative production. How should “art work” be considered in light of these ideas?

This short course is designed to offer an introduction to critical thought in general and provide a series of engaging talks and discussions related to topics of contemporary concern to critical theorists. Members of the Centre for Critical Thought at the University of Kent delivered the sessions alongside selected guests.

Free, no booking required.

You don’t have to have a background in theory to attend these seminars. And you can choose to come to only one, two or more of the sessions.

Accessibility info
Due to factors beyond our control, this event is inaccessible to those with limited mobility. We can record parts of the session if there is a demand. Please send an email to if you are interested.