26.09.2017

Call for participants to an international symposium, McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology, University of Toronto (Canada)

The McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology at the University of Toronto invites participants to an international symposium that will address forms of resistance within and against platform labour.

An emerging wave of struggles in sectors such as logistics, food delivery, journalism, and other platform-based sites of labour has shown how workers resist the casualized and precarious work conditions of the digital economy. Workers at app-based companies such as Uber or Deliveroo are hired as independent contractors and controlled through mobile apps. E-commerce corporations such as Amazon and H&M use logistics algorithms and digital technologies to speed up work in their warehouses. Web designers and media workers are increasingly employed as freelancers through platforms such as Upwork and Fiverr. Journalists and social media managers co-operate on and are monitored through Slack.

The symposium will focus on the role of digital technologies in re-organizing labour processes and forms of worker resistance. The organisers are interested in empirical and theoretical contributions that address worker organizing and unionization, strikes, work refusal, algorithm hacking, tactical interventions, as well as the material and political economic components of resistance to platform-based labour. Both academic and activist critical perspectives on platform labour and politics are welcome.

The symposium is funded by the McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology and organized by its working group on platform labour. It is co-sponsored by the ICCIT (Institute for Communication, Culture, Information and Technology) and the University of Toronto Mississauga.

The results of the selection will be announced by November 15. The symposium is planned for March 6, 2018. Funding for travel and accommodation will be available for accepted speakers. Selected papers are invited to be published in a special issue for a media studies or technology studies peer-reviewed journal (to be announced).

Deadline: 27 October 2017

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