1st Edition

The Gig Economy Workers and Media in the Age of Convergence

    340 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    340 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This edited collection examines the gig economy in the age of convergence from a critical political economic perspective. Contributions explore how media, technology, and labor are converging to create new modes of production, as well as new modes of resistance.

    From rideshare drivers in Los Angeles to domestic workers in Delhi, from sex work to podcasting, this book draws together research that examines the gig economy's exploitation of workers and their resistance. Employing critical theoretical perspectives and methodologies in a variety of national contexts, contributors consider the roles that media, policy, culture, and history, as well as gender, race, and ethnicity play in forging working conditions in the 'gig economy'. Contributors examine the complex and historical relationships between media and gig work integral to capitalism with the aim of exposing and, ultimately, ending exploitation.

    This book will appeal to students and scholars examining questions of technology, media, and labor across media and communication studies, information studies, and labor studies as well as activists, journalists, and policymakers.

    1. Introduction: The Gig Economy: Workers and Media in the Age of Convergence
    2. Michelle Rodino-Colocino, Todd Wolfson, Brian Dolber, Chenjerai Kumanyika

    3. History: We Were Always Gig Workers
    4. Chapter 1 Behind the Wheel and in the Streets: Technological Transformation, Exit, and Voice in the New York City Taxi Industry

      Hannah Johnston, Queen’s University

      Chapter 2 More than a Gig?: Ridehailing in Los Angeles County

      Tia Koonse, Lucero Herrera, Saba Waheed, Janna Shadduck-Hernández, Ana Luz Gonzalez-Vasquez and Kean Flowers

      University of California, Los Angeles, Center for Labor Research and Education

      Chapter 3 Care in the Platform Economy: Interrogating the Digital Organisation of Domestic Work in India

      Ambika Tandon and Aayush Rathi, Centre for Internet and Society

      Chapter 4 Sex Work/Gig Work: A Feminist Analysis of Precarious Domina Labor in the Gig Economy

      Lauren Levitt, University of Southern California

    5. Ideology: Thinking Like a Gig Economist
    6. Chapter 5 "The Future Demands we All become Prolific Artists": Cultural Ideals of Gig Work in Popular Management Literature

      Juhana Venäläinen, University of Eastern Finland

      Chapter 6.  "Uber for Radio?" Professionalism and Production Cultures in Podcasting

      John L. Sullivan, Muhlenberg College

      Chapter 7.  Good People "Belong Anywhere": Airbnb’s Emerging Neofascism

      Brian Dolber, California State University San Marcos and Christina Ceisel, California State University, Fullerton

      Chapter 8 "Uber" University and Labor Recomposition: Notes on (Dis)Organized Academia

      Marco Briziarelli and Susana Martínez Guillem, University of New Mexico

    7. Media: Negotiating the Gig Economy
    8. Chapter 9 "Viene cuando viene, no es gran cantidad de dinero": Opacity, Precarity, and the Unwaged Labor of Latina Audiobook Narrators

      Ruth L. Nuñez, University of California, Los Angeles

      Chapter 10.  Liquid Assets: Camming and Cashing in on Desire in the Digital Age

      Kavita Ilona Nayar, University of Massachusetts-Amherst

      Chapter 11. This is Gig Leisure: Games, Gamification, and Gig Labor                                 Randy Nichols, University of Washington-Tacoma

    9. Struggles: Organizing in the Gig Economy
    10. Chapter 12: Platform Organizing: Tech Worker Struggles and Digital Tools for Labor Movements

      Enda Brophy and Seamus Grayer, Simon Fraser University

      Chapter 13.  Competition, Collaboration and Combination: Differences in Attitudes to
      Collective Organization Among Offline and Online Platform Workers

      Kaire Holts, Tallinn University of Technology, Ursula Huws, Neil Spencer and Matthew Coates, University of Hertfordshire

      Chapter 14 Uprooting Uber: From "Data Fracking" to Data Commons

      Stephen E. Rahko and Byron B. Craig, Indiana University- Bloomington

      Chapter 15.  Precarity Beyond the Gig: From University Halls to Tech Campuses

      Tamara Kneese, University of San Francisco

      Chapter 16.  The Cycle of Struggle: Food Platform Strikes in the UK 2016-18

      Callum Cant, University of West London and Jamie Woodcock, Open University

    11. Conclusion: We Are All Gig Workers

    Michelle Rodino-Colocino, Penn State University


    Brian Dolber is Assistant Professor of Communication at California State University San Marcos. He is the author of Media and Culture in the U.S. Jewish Labor Movement: Sweating for Democracy in the Interwar Era (2017). He is also the author of several journal articles published in venues such as Communication, Culture and Critique, Communication Theory, and Democratic Communiqué, and book chapters. His ongoing research focuses on the gig economy, particularly the organizing methods and media strategies of Rideshare Drivers United in Los Angeles.

    Michelle Rodino-Colocino is Associate Professor of Media Studies in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications at Penn State University. Her research, teaching, activism, and creative work span feminist media and critical cultural studies, with special interest in labor, new media, and social movements. Her scholarly articles have been published in journals such as Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies; Communication, Culture, and Critique; Critical Studies in Media Communications; Feminist Media Studies; New Media & Society; and Women’s Studies in Communication, among others.

    Chenjerai Kumanyika is a researcher, journalist, and artist who works as an Assistant Professor in Rutgers University’s Department of Journalism and Media Studies. His research and teaching focus on the intersections of social justice and emerging media in the cultural and creative industries. He has written about these issues in journals such as Popular Music & Society; Popular Communication; and Technology, Pedagogy and Education, and The Routledge Companion to Advertising and Promotional Culture.

    Todd Wolfson is associate professor in the Department of Journalism and Media Studies at Rutgers University. His research focuses on the convergence of technology, inequality and social change. Todd is author of Digital Rebellion: The Birth of the Cyber Left (2014) and co-editor of The Great Refusal: Herbert Marcuse and Contemporary Social Movements (2017) as well as over a dozen peer-reviewed articles. He is currently working on a book focused on new forms of worker organizing in the gig economy. Todd is co-director of the Media, Inequality & Chance Center (MIC), a partnership between University of Pennsylvania and Rutgers University.

    "As a former tech union organizer, this book is critically important to understanding the intersection between technology and the future of work around the globe. […] The authors bring the voice of the workers out of the shadows to let them tell their story of long hours, low pay, and a precarious working life. Marcus Courtney, Former President of WashTech/CWA Local 37083, and Principal of Courtney Public Affairs

    "Building on its critical political economic lens, this necessary volume maps the pernicious tentacles of gig work as they seek to expand into all facets of daily life. […] The authors give ample room to revisiting the intrinsic hope of labor’s lessons past and present: the potential for workers, advocates, academics and others to organize together to demand justice commensurate with the value they bring company executives and shareholders, to the end of a more equitable future for all." Sarah T. Roberts, Associate Professor and Co-Founder, Center for Critical Internet Inquiry (C2i2), UCLA

    "This book is an invaluable map of the new networked terrain of exploitation, and a chronicle of the class war being waged across it. The ideas, stories, and strategies explored in these pages are drawn from the struggle against platform capital, and will be of great value to those who want to understand this struggle, and to those who want to continue it." Ben Tarnoff, Co-Founder of Logic Magazine and Co-Editor of Voices from the Valley: Tech Workers Talk About What They Do—And How They Do It

    "A brilliant book that brings together a truly global set of insights into the gig economy." - Thomas Klikauer and Meg Young, Transfer