PANOPTIWORK TALKS\5: Gig workers in the platform metropolis

On the 10th of January 2024, at 17.00, panoptiwork will host its fifth talk entitled: “Gig workers in the platform metropolis: delivery workers in the Netherlands and South Korea”. The talk will be held in the Diephuiszaal at the Faculty of Law (Room 1217.0065, Oude Boteringestraat 18, Groningen). You can register to attend the meeting emailing Large part of the meeting will be dedicated to a discussion with participants, so get prepared to open a debate! Drinks will follow.

Dr. Seonok Lee is the speaker, she’s involved in the panoptiwork network and Lecturer at the Faculty of Arts in the Department of Minority and Multilingualism.

Hereunder you can read the abstract of her presentation:

The term “platform” initially applied to any programmable computer ‘architecture’ upon which applications could be built (Hennessy & Patterson, 2011; Baldwin & Woodard, 2009), but it soon moved beyond this computational meaning and began to refer to a digital intermediary that brought together individuals, information, and goods (Evans et al., 2006). The term ‘platform’ itself does discursive work to position a company as “a facilitator that does not pick favorites” (Gillespie, 2010, p.358). However, critics have pointed out that platforms are not simply neutral enablers of transactions: They act as “private regulators” (Boudreau & Hagiu, 2009) through their ability to (dis)connect and algorithmically rank participants. Platforms also tend to evade regulatory obligations to producers and their workforce (Frenken & Fuenfschilling, 2020). “Platform capitalism” (Srnicek, 2016) replaces traditional contracted labor with a more informal, flexible, and entrepreneurial-like model to organize and optimize the workforce. Exemplified by Uber drivers and Deliveroo’s self-employed couriers, this new labor relation has been called enabling and exploitative at the same time (Kaine & Josserand, 2019). This research talk focuses on delivery workers and the “digitally mediated service work” (van Doorn, 2017) that residents of dense urban metropolises, such as Amsterdam (Groningen) and Seoul increasingly depend upon. This is a project that is timely and of global relevance. It will help provide academic researchers with a more global lens through which to understand and theorize the impacts of platformization. 

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