Spring 2024

February 15, Guest Speaker: Lorenza Antonucci

Abstract: Alongside the established literature that stressed the presence of work precariousness in platform work, recent publications in this field have highlighted the ambiguity of the platform work experience, finding a heterogeneity in the outcomes of the platform work experience and an ambivalent role of platform work in limiting and exacerbating overall precarity. Related to this, the process of precarization (Alberti et al, 2018) through which platform work reinforces, reproduces, or limits existing inequalities is largely unknown. To shed light on the complexity of the platform work experience, this study introduces two innovative elements: first, it positions the experiences of platform work within the broader work and welfare context of participants; second, it clarifies the process through which experiences of precarious work become experiences of precarity. The research adopts an inductive sociological approach, drawing insights from interviews and digital ethnographic material collected with 101 platform workers from Italy, the UK, and Sweden (the GIGWELL project, The theoretical framework seeks to investigate the experiences of platform workers by examining the relationship between their work insecurity (e.g. the irregularity of tasks and lack of regulation) and their subjective financial insecurity (e.g. the irregularity of income, the incapacity of paying for regular and unexpected expenses). In the proposed framework, this link is mediated work dependence (whether platform work is the only option available to the worker or not) and financial dependence (the extent to which workers rely on platform work due to a lack of other welfare sources). The article offers both a theoretical discussion and an empirical analysis of how work and financial dependence are related to structural factors, particularly to the platform worker’s position in the labor market (as insider or outsider) and to their available ‘welfare mixes’ (financial sources from the family, the state, and the labor market). The research finds four ideal types that emerge from the intersection of financial and work dependence and capture the ambivalent function of platform work in the current labor and welfare context: platform work as a gain; platform work as a curse, platform work as a necessary evil and platform work as an opportunity. The findings indicate that the platform work experience depends on the workers’ unequal positions in the labor market, as well as on their unequal access to the welfare mixes. Furthermore, the findings show that platform work acts both as a symptom and an individualized solution to broader work and welfare changes: the declining pay from non-platform work, the exclusion from the regular labour market and the increasing financial insecurity of the working population.

Fall 2023

  • October 16, Ashley Mears & Taylor Beauvais, The Addiction of a Viral High: How Platforms Shape Labor Commitment in the Attention Economy , and Implications
  • October 30, Sara Snitstelear, TBD
  • November 20, Micah Rajunov, Between Dream Jobs and Real Jobs: Career Strategies for Pursuing Passionate Work.
  • December 4, Elif Birced, Becoming a Personal Brand or Sponsorship Oriented Content Creator: How Do Platform and Income Pathways Shape Control, Autonomy and Resistance in the Creator Economy?

Spring 2023

  • January 31, Valerio Iannucci and Michel Anteby, The Rise of Neo-Experts: Sources, Characteristics, and Implications
  • February 14, Spring Speaker Series, Guest: Lindsey Cameron
  • March 14, Ya-Ching Huang, Death and Dying in Children: The Economization of Pediatric Palliative Care; Thao Nguyen, TBD
  • March 21, Ashley Mears, Thao Nguyen, and Elif Birced, Playing Cat-and-Mouse with a Platform: Attention Games under Algorithmic Management
  • March 28, Spring Speaker Series, Guest: Vili Lehdonvirta
  • April 11, David Joseph-Goteiner, Earmarked as Extra: How Platform Money Becomes “Beer Money”
  • April 25, Qi Song, Restructuring Social Relations: How Digital Platforms Transform the Freight Transportation Market in China

Fall 2022

  • September 6, Anna Gibson, Adversarial Moderation in Facebook Groups
  • September 20, Fall Speaker Series, Guest: Barbara Kiviat
  • October 4, Elif Birced, Rethinking Autonomy in the Age of Platforms 
  • October 25, Pulum Eunice Kim, Falling from grace: context-specific stigma among Korean test prep instructors
  • November 15, Dilan Eren, TBA
  • December 13, Fall Speaker Series, Guest: Lauren Rivera

Spring 2022

  • May 9, Elif Birced, From Securing a Career to Securing Attention: The YouTubers’ Strategies of Accumulating and Converting Attention Capital in Turkey 
  • May 2, Diana Enriquez, TBA
  • April 25, Thao Nguyen, Playing in the Grey: Stratified Markets under Platform Governance and Compliance in the Age of Censorship
  • April 20, Bahar Aldanmaz, TBD
  • March 28, Ya-Ching Huang, TBA
  • March 14, Micah Rajunov, TBD
  • March 7, ESS Practice Session (Presenters: Micah, Dilan, Thao, Ya-Ching)
  • February 14, Yun Ha Cho, Memo: Metrics of Comments? – How YouTube Content Creators Respond to the Metric-Based Control of Platforms Over Different Stages of Their Career
  • February 7, Michel Anteby, Book Proposal: “The Interloper”

Fall 2021

  • Dec 13, 2021- Diana Enriquez, Freelancers are both a small business and an employee… how do they price their time?
  • Dec 6, 2021- Elif Birced, Between the Demands of Followers and Brands in the Attention Economy: A Study of YouTubers and the Market of Content Creation in Turkey
  • Nov 29, 2021- Ashley Mears, Magicians and the Problem of Secrecy in the Information Age: Theorizing Fields in Digitial Culture
  • Nov 22, 2021 -Léonie Hénaut and Jennifer C. Lena, Polyoccupationalism: Occupational Identities in a Postindustrial Era 
  • Nov 15, 2021- Thao Nguyen, Elif Birced, and Ashley Mears, Attention Capital: Algorithmic Imaginaries and the Uneven Pursuit of Profit Online
  • Nov 8, 2021- Micah Rajunov, WIP
  • Nov 1, 2021- Allison Wigen, Negotiating Unequal Exchange: Relational Work in Cross-Class Sibling Relationships
  • Oct 4, 2021- General Meeting, Qualitative Data Analysis Practices
  • Sept 13, 2021 – Audrey Holm, Poster Presentation

Spring 2021

  • June 29, 2021 –  Ashley Mears, “Going Viral: Creative Labor in the Field of Digital Cultural Production”
  • June 15, 2021 – Dilan Eren, “Gift-Production of Inequality”
  • May 5, 2021 – Ya-Ching Huang, “The Moral Economy of Homemade Masks in Times of COVID-19”
  • March 17, 2021 –  Elif Birced, “Please Don’t Forget to Like and Subscribe: The Content Creators on YouTube and the Market of Content Creation in the US and Turkey”
  • March 10, 2021 –  Micah Rajunov, “Pay to Play: Careers of Professional Video Gamers”