A call for papers for the stream on Digital Transformations of Work at ILPC 2017, April 4-6 in Sheffield.

Deadline for abstracts: 21 October 2016
Submissions via website: http://www.ilpc.org.uk

Digital Transformations of Work: Labouring in the Digital Economy

“Digital technologies have provided the links for multinational companies (MNCs) and global production networks (GPNs) to shift production across organisational and national boundaries, creating new global divisions of labour and removing work from nationally-constituted regulatory frameworks. Increasingly, online labour markets such as Upwork or PeoplePerHour, offer the platform infrastructure for the outsourcing of work and the managerialisation of freelancing and independent work at a distance, questioning notions of working time, value and control.

Recent studies have attempted to theorise a political economy that considers these digital transformations in contemporary work (e.g. Huw’s, 2014; Dyer-Witheford, 2015). From this perspective, the discussion of labour in terms of the digital economy has both re-materialised concepts such as immaterial labour and the knowledge economy, in the face of the impoverishment, precarity and crisis experienced by those labouring in digital economies – and, on the other, uncovered new challenges for the study of work and workers’ organisation and resistance, for example, the use of data storing and processing and communications technologies as forms of productivity measurements in the workplace (Moore and Robinson, 2015).

This stream will question the implications of this evolution from a labour process perspective. This stream will be the point of contact between scholars researching digital transformations of work in management, organisation studies and the sociology of work with the potential to involve others from cultural studies, critical media theory and the sociology of media.

We welcome contributions that examine:

  • New employment relations in the gig or platform economy (e.g. Uber; Deliveroo);
  • Crowdsourcing and new forms of labour;
  • “Gamification” and the distinction between work, labour and play;
  • The integration of data, digital metrics and algorithms into work processes;
  • Control and data-related managerialisation;
  • Digitisation and the ability to measure previously intangible aspects of work;
  • Digital technologies, workplace flexibility and the intensification and extensification of labour;
  • The commodification of digital labour and the role of free and unpaid labour in online regimes of accumulation;
  • New jobs, new professional identities;
  • Resistance and trade union organisation;
  • Policy and regulation of digitally-mediated work;
  • Methodological challenges and how to study digital work.

Potential contributions may include:

  • empirical research that looks at processes of digitisation on work;
  • empirical research that studies new forms of labour brought about by digitization/digital technologies;
  • theoretical papers that consider how we might conceptualise digital labour, or the digitisation of labour from a labour process perspective;
  • theoretical papers on the political economy of platforms;
  • methodological papers on how to address the study of labour in the digital transformation;
  • comparative labour process analyses of in digital contexts”

More details can be found here.

Photo by Joan-Marie E

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