Technology, Labor, and the Gig Economy

Woodcock, Jamie (2021). Technology, Labor, and the Gig Economy. In: Rohlinger, Deana A. and Sobieraj, Sarah eds. The Oxford Handbook of Sociology and Digital Media. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780197510636.013.14

Abstract

This chapter examines the interconnections between technology, labor, and the gig economy. It starts by analyzing the changing context of work, connecting contemporary changes to a historical context. This draws out the ongoing undermining of the employment relationship alongside neoliberal reforms and policies. The chapter then examines the organizational form of platforms, the specific preconditions that shape their implementation, and the overlaps this has with the gig economy. In particular, it focuses on the emergence of two new models of platform work: geographically tethered work like transport and online forms of cloudwork. The chapter concludes by reflecting on the implications of platforms for understanding the changes to work, as well as charting potential new areas for research.

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