Re-spatializing Digital Labor 1: New Actors

Type: Virtual Paper
Sponsor Groups: Digital Geographies Specialty Group, Socialist and Critical Geography Specialty Group, Economic Geography Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/11/2021
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM (PST)
Room: Virtual 34
Organizers: Ryan Burns, Luke Bergmann
Chairs: Ryan Burns


It is now an urgent moment for geographers to revisit how we think of the spaces of digital labor. By now, the platforms mediating and organizing work are well-known, and their implications increasingly theorized. UberEats, Lyft, Didi Chuxing, and Fiverr scaffold the gig economy wherein workers perform ad hoc jobs delegated through the platform; Yelp, Amazon, Baidu, and OpenStreetMap coordinate volunteered data production; and tech workers for major corporations like Google, Apple, Tesla, and Alibaba reshape regional political-economies. The geographies of this digital labor are critical to understanding its social, political, and economic implications, but scholars have primarily made sense of its geographies by engaging narrow conceptions of "space" and "labor" that obscure important relations and processes. Digital labor is often understood to occur within Euclidean geometries, under the premise of remuneration, and through Marxian conceptions of value. At the same time, digital labor discussions often under-theorize immaterial and affective labor, attentional economies, and moral economies. A more planetary view of digital labour would further draw out its uneven geographies -- with geopolitical implications -- and emphasize new empirical imperatives such as diversifying case studies or mobilizing comparative approaches. In short, broadening the purview of what digital labor is and where it happens can challenge some of the conceptual framings that have driven digital labor studies to date.

This session seeks to rethink the spatial frameworks through which geographers grasp work conducted in and through the digital. In turn, we hope to reclaim many forms of (digital) work whose spatialities have occluded them from our attention.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter KE LI*, National University of Singapore, Beyond Algorithmic Control: Flexibility, localized Control, and Paradox in the Decentered Labor Process of the On-Demand Economy 15 8:00 AM
Presenter Constanza Ulriksen-Moretti*, Facultad de Arquitectura y Urbanismo, Universidad De Chile, Paola Jiron, Facultad de Arquitectura y Urbanismo, Universidad de Chile, Digital mobile workers: exploring new ways of dwelling-in-labour in the Chilean platform economy 15 8:15 AM
Presenter Dalton Kamish*, Simon Fraser University, Kayla Hilstob*, Simon Fraser University, Beyond Digital Labor: Re-theorizing the User/Platform Relation 15 8:30 AM
Presenter Caio Sena, Federal University of Goiás, Ricardo Barbosa*, University of Calgary, App food-delivery workers in Brazil communicate and interpret their experiences of digital work on social media 15 8:45 AM

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