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Internet and Change. An Anthropology of Knowledge and Flexible Work
How may internet use be related to social and cultural change? Debates on this question have proliferated. Yet, conceptions of change in such debates have remained conspicuously under-theorized. This book approaches these issues through anthropological research among ‘teleworkers’, people working via internet from their homes in rural Denmark. Through a rich ethnography of paid work as a cultural practice, and drawing on social science studies of knowledge, it develops a theory of cultural process and change, where particular attention is devoted to the materiality of internet use, and to situated experience, reflection, and agency. The study suggests that telework is mostly practiced informally, and that this form of flexible work is more prevalent than commonly assumed. Against conventional assertions that flexible work promotes alienation, the study argues for a more complex picture, where the cultural conception of ‘work’ is incrementally changed through new practices of economic engagement.