Milieus in the Gig Economy
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The present project provides a survey of contemporary work relations in the context of the so-called gig economy (also known as the sharing, collaborative, platform, and on-demand economy). Against the background of recent concerns over automation replacing work at a large scale, the project argues instead that the displacement of work warrants more critical attention. The project examines how the gig economy presents their services as automating technologies while downplaying the ways that workers' employment, not to mention lives, are made increasingly precarious by these alleged improvements. Specifically, the project surveys three gig-economies, the ride-hailing service Uber, the home-sharing service Airbnb, and the online labor marketplace Amazon Mechanical Turk (AMT). Methodologically, the project employs an interdisciplinary approach, integrating insights from political economy, critical theory, discourse analysis, and ethnographic research. A qualitative assessment of the respective work environments shifts a relatively apolitical discourse on the future of work not only toward a more pronounced critique of the gig economy, but also toward a renewed discussion on the kinds of jobs that earn the labels of freelance and entrepreneurship. Professionals and scholars concerned with the future of work stand to benefit from the findings of the research, particularly as it challenges some commonplace assumptions in the discourse of what has been termed postcapitalism.
- Doctoral Dissertations 
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