Re-spatializing Digital Labor 2: New Digital Objects

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: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM (PDT)
Room: Virtual 34
Organizers: Ryan Burns, Luke Bergmann
Chairs: Luke Bergmann


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 Madison Snider*, University of Washington, Networks of care: Maintaining campus information infrastructures in turbulent times 15 9:35 AM
Presenter Daniela Albini Pinheiro, Associate Researcher and Ph.D. in Science and Technology Policy, University of Campinas – UNICAMP, Marina Fontolan, Associate Researcher and Ph.D. in Science and Technology Policy, University of Campinas – UNICAMP, Manuela Rocha*, M.A. in Science and Technology Policy, University of Campinas – UNICAMP, Digital Games and Digital Labor: building new worlds, no costs involved 15 9:50 AM
Presenter Peter van Eerbeek*, Karlstad University, Reconfigurations of work and changing public sector geographies - The rise of digital primary healthcare 15 10:05 AM
Presenter Alex Quesnel*, Carleton University, Digital Labour Remuneration and the Crypto-Commodification of Non-Work 15 10:20 AM

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