Of Crowds and Talents: Discursive Constructions of Global Online Labour

16 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2018

See all articles by Hans J. Pongratz

Hans J. Pongratz

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) - Department of Sociology

Date Written: March 2018

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.

Keywords: online labour, crowdsourcing, freelancer, online workers, digitalisation, platform economy, labour market

Suggested Citation

Pongratz, Hans J., Of Crowds and Talents: Discursive Constructions of Global Online Labour (March 2018). New Technology, Work and Employment, Vol. 33, Issue 1, pp. 58-73, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3139076 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ntwe.12104

Hans J. Pongratz (Contact Author)

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) - Department of Sociology ( email )

Konradstrasse 6
Munich, 80801
Germany

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
1
Abstract Views
88
PlumX Metrics