The Corporeal Costs of Doing What You Love

Publication Type:

Journal Articles


Feminist Media Studies (2019)



When I conducted ethnographic fieldwork in the high-technology world of startup capitalism in Bangalore, India, the air was full of possibility. This is India’s “Start Up City,” a vision for the future that is promised by state governments, driven by entrepreneurs and funders, and crafted by local media. In full page advertisements and dedicated supplements, media discourses about a new generation of workers who “do what they love” proliferate. These mediatized expressions of work and affect as interconnected align with global media proclamations about the rise of passionate entrepreneurs (Walter Isaacson 2011Isaacson, Walter. 2011. Steve Jobs. New York: Simon & Schuster. [Google Scholar]). Yet these mediatized affective realms obscure the material conditions under which such “loving innovations” are produced transnationally. Far from the homes of Silicon Valley multimillionaires are the proliferating spaces (manufacturing factories, startups, offshore offices) and actors (jobbers, workers, entrepreneurs) in the Global South who transform Do What You Love discourses into concrete products and services.