20th - 23rd June 2016

Connected Life is dedicated to sparking exchange between disciplines and showcasing emerging Internet research and brings together together participants from across the humanities, social sciences, and physical sciences.

20th June 2016, Session 1: Political Collective Action:

David Martin, Mark Hartswood, Ognjen Scekic and Marina Jirotka: "Socio-digital practices of collective action in online labour platforms". 

Abstract: Impersonal digital mechanisms (such as algorithmically driven ratings, work allocation and payments), are appealing to platform owners as they reduce overheads by creating inexpensive mechanisms to organise and discipline workforces that replace swathes of middle management positions[1]. Yet these approaches also result in high levels of stress, frustration and insecurity, leading to situations where a handful of poor ratings may make it hard to compete for work, or even lead to ejection from the platform and loss of income. However, the situation is more complex that a simple polarisation between worker and employer interests; there are also subtle ways in which the platform may favour interests of some groups of workers above others, leading to multifocal struggles and tensions.

In our talk we will detail and discuss a series of examples from our own research in relation to these issues and offer a series of provocations and questions for further research and development and how this research can have impact in protecting worker rights.