Accepted Paper:

Digital labour, mobility and social reproduction  

Authors:

Mira Wallis (Leuphana University Lüneburg)
Moritz Altenried (Leuphana Universität Lüneburg)

Paper short abstract:

The paper discusses the relationship between digital labour, mobility and social reproduction. It aims to understand how the platform-driven digitisation of labour transforms household structures, gender relations and mobility practices, focusing on crowdsourced labour performed from home.

Paper long abstract:

The paper discusses the relationship between digital labour, mobility and social reproduction. It aims to understand how the platform-driven digitisation of labour transforms household structures and gender relations. Moreover, it places changing labour arrangements and mobility practices within debates around the crisis of social reproduction.

The focus lies on crowdsourced labour, performed from home and mediated by online-platforms which organise and control the labour process. This type of digital labour is particularly interesting from the perspective of social reproduction: The completion of micro-tasks on a self-employed basis does not only contain the promise of a better work-life-balance, it is also potrayed as a chance for people who cannot leave the house due to care obligations or physical restrictions. It allows taking care of relatives and simultaneously remaining a wage labourer - especially in contexts that lack public health- and childcare or a public pension system. While this type of online-labour might replace certain forms of physical mobility, it facilitates virtual migration that makes workers subject to legal and cultural frameworks of other countries.

The paper discusses different theoretical frameworks such as the feminisation of labour, the Marxist concept of piece work or the distinction between productive/reproductive work, and asks how they help us to understand new combinations of domestic, care and wage labour. This serves as a theoretical base for an in-depth ethnography on crowdworkers which we will conduct as part of a research project on digital labour at Leuphana University Lüneburg.

Panel P057
Digitisation, and the future of labour and migration