Platform Work: From Digital Promises to Labor Challenges


The pervasiveness of the digital ecosystem reconfigures the organization of work. The new industrial revolution is increasingly based on the platform as a new productive paradigm. Platforms are more than a technical device and they produce huge effects in the labour market: lowering access credentials and empowering casualization of work, dis/re-intermediation labour demand and supply, affecting motivations and rewarding systems, reconfiguring process of control and risks transfer, renewing regulative standards, or re-organize representativeness and welfare protection. Fragmentation, precariousness, flexibility and instability become permanent traits of the workforce fostering the emergence of the cybertariat. Moreover, connectivity, evaluation and surveillance determine new working conditions tested on workers outside any bargaining process or institutional work arrangement. Platform workers (both high skilled and low skilled) are still largely unorganized and isolated. Similarly to other non-standard workers, they are exposed to the risk of exploitation and free work in a fast evolving economy based on reputation. Despite platform workers are highly differentiated and heterogeneous and difficult to organize collectively, forms of collective action are emerging at local and cross-national level.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i20356609v12i3p611

Keywords: digital labour; platform capitalism; collective representation; crowdsourcing; gig economy


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