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Getting the first gig: Exploring the affective relations of accessing place-based platform labour


Keller, Marisol (2023). Getting the first gig: Exploring the affective relations of accessing place-based platform labour. Digital geography and society, 5:100067.

Abstract

Platform labour has established itself as a new form of work in recent years. The platforms themselves advertise
the flexibility and freedom of being an independent contractor as beneficial characteristics of their working arrangements. However, existing studies show that these promises do not always correspond to workers' lived
experiences. While manifold research discusses the often precarious working conditions of established platform
workers, less is known about gaining access to gig work in the first place. This paper draws attention to onboarding processes in the place-based gig economy. From a feminist geography perspective and building on geographies of affect, this paper analyses the process of getting a first paid gig, focusing on how emotions shape platform workers' daily lives. Through autoethnography, I reflect on my own experiences of trying to establish myself as paid platform worker. Contrary to common assumptions, I argue that access to the place-based gig economy is not necessarily straightforward. The paper shows how the labour mediation processes implemented by the platforms create in- and exclusions from the beginning. By letting the workers chase a first gig, the platform capitalises on extended unpaid labour, which is key in maintaining the value production in the gig economy itself.

Abstract

Platform labour has established itself as a new form of work in recent years. The platforms themselves advertise
the flexibility and freedom of being an independent contractor as beneficial characteristics of their working arrangements. However, existing studies show that these promises do not always correspond to workers' lived
experiences. While manifold research discusses the often precarious working conditions of established platform
workers, less is known about gaining access to gig work in the first place. This paper draws attention to onboarding processes in the place-based gig economy. From a feminist geography perspective and building on geographies of affect, this paper analyses the process of getting a first paid gig, focusing on how emotions shape platform workers' daily lives. Through autoethnography, I reflect on my own experiences of trying to establish myself as paid platform worker. Contrary to common assumptions, I argue that access to the place-based gig economy is not necessarily straightforward. The paper shows how the labour mediation processes implemented by the platforms create in- and exclusions from the beginning. By letting the workers chase a first gig, the platform capitalises on extended unpaid labour, which is key in maintaining the value production in the gig economy itself.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Geography, Planning and Development
Physical Sciences > Information Systems
Social Sciences & Humanities > Development
Social Sciences & Humanities > Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
Physical Sciences > Computer Science Applications
Uncontrolled Keywords:Computer Science Applications, Social Sciences (miscellaneous), Development, Information Systems, Geography, Planning and Development
Language:English
Date:1 December 2023
Deposited On:09 Aug 2023 13:51
Last Modified:30 Mar 2024 04:30
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:2666-3783
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.diggeo.2023.100067
Project Information:
  • : FunderUniversität Zürich
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title
  • Content: Accepted Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)