Of crowds and talents: discursive constructions of global online labour

Of crowds and talents: discursive constructions of global online labour Online platforms not only serve to exchange information and goods but increasingly also service work provided by the self‐employed. The emergence of crowdsourcing of paid work has created a global market for online labour where services can be fully acquired and provided irrespective of location via platforms such as upwork.com or freelancer.com. Drawing on a content analysis of the websites of 44 globally operating platforms, this study has investigated the discursive construction of this new type of labour market. The findings show that platforms address the online workforce in different ways, for instance, as workers or freelancers. Contrary to their blanket characterisation as an anonymous crowd in previous academic debate, in most cases, online workers are forced to present themselves as talented experts to distinguish themselves from the mass of competitors. The control over online labour that these platforms exercise challenges existing conceptions of professionalism and self‐employment. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png New Technology, Work and Employment Wiley

Of crowds and talents: discursive constructions of global online labour

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Publisher
Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
Copyright
© 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
ISSN
0268-1072
eISSN
1468-005X
D.O.I.
10.1111/ntwe.12104
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Online platforms not only serve to exchange information and goods but increasingly also service work provided by the self‐employed. The emergence of crowdsourcing of paid work has created a global market for online labour where services can be fully acquired and provided irrespective of location via platforms such as upwork.com or freelancer.com. Drawing on a content analysis of the websites of 44 globally operating platforms, this study has investigated the discursive construction of this new type of labour market. The findings show that platforms address the online workforce in different ways, for instance, as workers or freelancers. Contrary to their blanket characterisation as an anonymous crowd in previous academic debate, in most cases, online workers are forced to present themselves as talented experts to distinguish themselves from the mass of competitors. The control over online labour that these platforms exercise challenges existing conceptions of professionalism and self‐employment.

Journal

New Technology, Work and EmploymentWiley

Published: Jan 1, 2018

Keywords: ; ; ; ; ; ;

References

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