Towards a multi-dimensional theory of temporal control in the gig economy

Chi KWOK*, Ngai Keung CHAN

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Other Conference ContributionsConference Paper (other)Researchpeer-review

Abstract

This paper proposes a multi-dimensional theory of temporal control in the gig economy. Specifically, we focus on different types of platform-based temporal control and their respective effects on (a) workers’ autonomy, (b) value of free time, and (c) their social and political connectedness. Theoretically, we draw on the sociology of time and normative time literature in political theory. Empirically, the framework is informed by the synthesis of the literature about algorithms in the gig economy, with particular attention to the methods of temporal control. Meanwhile, we draw insights from a larger comparative project that examines algorithmic labor control and resistance across ride-hailing platforms (Uber and Lyft), TaskRabbit, and delivery platforms (DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Instacart) in the United States. The project interviewed 50 gig workers between 2017 and 2020. Through a systematic synthesis of primary and secondary materials, this paper contributes to understanding temporalities and work autonomy in the gig economy, and more broadly, flexible workplaces where the boundaries between work and non-work time become blurred.
Original languageEnglish
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2021
EventThe 22nd annual conference of the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR2021): Independence - Online
Duration: 13 Oct 202116 Oct 2021
https://aoir.org/aoir2021confinfo/

Conference

ConferenceThe 22nd annual conference of the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR2021)
Period13/10/2116/10/21
Internet address

Keywords

  • Gig economy
  • temporal control
  • gig worker
  • platform
  • autonomy

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