CfP: Organizing Against Authoritarianism in the Platform and On-Demand Economy


Abstract submission for the XX ISA World Congress of Sociology is open until 30 September 2022.
The congress will be held at Melbourne from 25 June to 1 July 2023.

XX ISA World Congress of Sociology

I’m organizing three sessions for this congress and invite everybody to subit abstracts to thesse sessions. The first is about

Organizing Against Authoritarianism in the Platform and on-Demand Economy

Platform work is a new form of authoritarian organization based on the illusion of “neutral” management through artificial intelligence (AI). Amazon for example, advertised as AI the services provided by its poorly paid crowdworkers in its crowdsourcing website Mechanical Turk. In all forms of platform work the power relations between clients, workers and platform providers are obfuscated by the intermediation of algorithmic management creating the illusion that work processes are optimised on purely technical grounds.

Workers in the platform and on-demand economy have organized in many countries against this new work regime. Their bottom-up organizing is most often based on coalitions of labour, community and interest groups. In some cases, workers have set up platform cooperatives to gain control over their working conditions, remuneration and business decisions as well as over the algorithms used by the platform.

In order to improve working conditions in the platform economy it is important to tackle the imbalanced power relations between clients, platforms and workers. Public debate is increasingly focusing on the status of platform workers either as employees protected by existing labour laws or on basic labour rights for self-employed freelancers. Furthermore, platform workers are fighting for information and participation rights with regard to the design and application of the algorithms that control their jobs and work processes.

This session invites communications on how platform workers organize with a focus on their recent social movements and demands, how they tackle imbalances of power, and how they can achieve democratic participation regarding algorithmic management.

RC10 Participation, Organizational Democracy and Self-Management (host committee)

Language: English, French and Spanish
Session Type: Oral

Session Organizers:

  • Stefan Lücking, Hans-Böckler-Stiftung, Germany
  • Isabel da Costa, CNRS, France

Kategorien Soziologie, Industrielle Beziehungen