Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Session Overview
JS_RN09_RN17_06: The Gig Economy: Bright and Dark Sides of the Future Labour Market II
Thursday, 22/Aug/2019:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Aarron Jason Jake Toal, Durham University
Location: BS.4.06B
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Business School, Fourth Floor, North Atrium Oxford Road

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Ideologies Within New Employment Forms: Precariously Employed Youth From The UK And Greece

Gregoris Ioannou

University of Glasgow

There is a substantial literature on labour market flexibility, precarious work and non-standard employment and a burgeoning one on “work on demand”, the gig economy, crowd work and coordination by platforms. This paper focuses on the ideological dimension and the discourses that accompany the new forms of employment from multiple perspectives and especially the views and understandings, ideas and beliefs of the workers engaged in it. The research, situated at the intersection between working conditions and subjective experience aims to identify the extent to which a process of internalization of market values and neo-liberal worldviews is at work and the extent to which these values and worldviews are modified and adapted in the context of their appropriation.

It will be empirically based on content and discourse analysis of life story semi structured interviews conducted with selected persons aged 20-35 from the UK and Greece in the hospitality and care industries, who have been fully socialized in the digital era and have only experienced precariousness in their work life trajectory. The interviews will focus on the perceptions of the workers about their work, their rights within it, expectations from it and beyond it and its place in their everyday life. The socio-political orientations of the agents will also be examined not in the narrow sense of party political affiliation but in the broader sense of ideas about values, perspectives and stances on socio-economic and public issues.

Operating in Capitalist and Moral Economies: Freelancers’ Sympathy, Strategic Alliance and Resistance to Prejudice

Yiluyi Zeng

University of Warwick, United Kingdom

How do freelancers deal with loosely established employment practice? Reflecting on semi-structured interviews with 60 independent professionals from Taiwan and England, this study looks at whether the traditional frameworks of organizational exploitation and self-exploitation are appropriate to understanding unfair employment practices encountered by freelancers. Additionally, I examine the conflicts between freelancers and their clients and how they influence professional identity and payment negotiation. Preliminary analyses result in three findings:

First, inexperienced freelancers are motivated by financial and human capital accumulation, thus inevitably have to undergo a period of self-exploitation before reaching a satisfactory stage of fair negotiation. However, both inexperienced and experienced operate in capitalist and moral economies, such that they consider each clients’ project (e.g. adding value to society) and financial condition to determine appropriate price.

Second, to minimise replaceability and stabilise sources of work, highly skilled freelancers diversify skills and form alliances with other freelancers. Freelancers divide labour in cooperative partnerships, forming complementary alliances to carve out a niche in their profession while escaping the exploitation typically associated with division of labour.

Third, the freelance experience is impacted by social and cultural factors. Some clients don’t necessarily understand or appreciate the investment and skills involved in freelancers’ work. Clients’ skewed judgements of freelance work creates asymmetrical valuations of the work, and such evaluational asymmetry is manifested in different perceptions of the client vs the freelancer regarding the respectability of the profession, which also results in gaps in expected payment.

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