Welcome to INDL-6

# Digital Labor in the Wake of Pandemic Times

Berlin 9-11 October 2023

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Conference program

Three days of presentations panels and events about digital labor

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Day 1 | 09/10/23
RoomEvents Room (ground floor)
09:00-9:30Opening Remarks
9:30-10:30Keynote 1 Kylie Jarrett (Maynooth University, Ireland, author of "Digital Labor", Wiley, 2022) - Creation, commodification, and class in the platform economy: the labour of assetised workers
10:30-11:00Coffee break
RoomEvents Room (ground floor)Joseph Room (1st floor)Eliza Room (1nd floor)
11:00-12:40Session 1A Platform CapitalismSession 1B Platform work and LivelihoodsSession 1C Labour relations in the platform economy
Niels van Doorn How to do things at scale? (Re)Locating platform power in the gig economySofia Kypraiou & Jessica Pidoux A Mixed-Methods’ Study on The Impact of Covid-19 on Uber Drivers: Differences across Policies, Earnings and Work Patterns in Geneva and ParisPadmini Sharma Digital Labour Relations in the Gig Economy: Platform-to-Consumer Food Delivery Services in Global North and Global South
Matthew Cole et al. Technologies of Extraction: Interrogating Platform Models and Labour Process in the the Platform Economy’s Search for ProfitAna Beatriz Bueno (de Jesus) & Bruna da Penha de Mendonça Coelho The COVID-19 Pandemic and Deppening Inequalities in Delivery work via Digital Platfforms in Brazil: An Empirical StudyMiriam Oliver & Noé Letourneux The gig economy through the eyes of its workers
Anderson Luan Santana Siqueira & Lucas Samuel da Silva Couriers in the Digital Economy: Challenges and Demands in the COVID-19 PandemicBurak Ceylan The Impacts of Platformization on the Labor Processes of Delivery Work in the Turkish Context: A Comparative Approach
Gianmarco Peterlongo & Federico De Stavola The digital baroque: a reflection from Latin America to EuropeFarhan Latif The Long-Term Impact of Short-term Cloud Gig Work on Individual Livelihood Capabilities: Lessons from the South Francisca Gutiérrez Crocco & Pablo Pérez Ahumada Industrial relations systems and collective action in digital delivery platforms
Adio-Adet Dinika Decent Work and the Platform Economy in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Nkrumahian AnalysisRobert Dorschel Tech Workers and the Emancipatory Potential of High-Paid Digital Laborers
12:40-13:40Lunch break
13:40-15:20Session 2A Digital labour, time and spaceSession 2B PrecaritySession 2C Transformation of work through platformisation
James Steinhoff A Paucity of Virtual Things: The Labour of Producing SimulationsGabriela Siqueira Salomão & Sarah de Paulo do Amaral & Cirlene Christo & Letícia Masson Without Us, There Is No Them”: Brazilian Overview On Health, Subjectivity And The Activity of Delivery Workers During The Covid-19 PandemicJonas C L Valente & Giulia Varaschin & Robbie Warrin & Branka Andelkovic & Elvisa Drishti & Cheryll Soriano & Mark Graham Classifying remote work platforms: discussing typologies and identifying specificities of web-based digital labour platforms
Sandy Di Yu Time Enclosures and Labour Optimisation in the Digital MilieuKaren Schwien & Tobias Schlömer & Tim Thrun Perceived uncertainty in platform and crowdworker practicesLudmila Costhek Abílio Uberization from the Periphery: Exploring Work Transformations in the Global South
Carlotta Benvegnù & Niccolò Cuppini & Maurilio Pirone & Floriano Milesi Platform Labour in the Cloud Metropolis. Case Studies, Trajectories and TendenciesJanara Nicoletti Deepening the labour precariousness: the effects of covid-19 on Brazilian’ journalists workRezanejad Soheil Digital Labour in Iran a case study of online ridesharing drivers
Nicolás Palacios & David Kaufmann Strategies and tactics in platform urbanism: Contested spatial production through quick delivery platforms in Berlin and BarcelonaShaibu Bukari Vulnerable digital labour platform workers in the wake of pandemics: An exploratory study of ride hailing drivers and COVID 19 in GhanaKatarzyna Cieslik Clifford Geertz Takes an Uber: Navigating Information Asymmetry at the Lagos Mobility Bazaar
Marianna Charitonidou Urban scale digital twins and digital labour: Towards a critique of digital universalismJonas Ferdinand Precarity of tech workers: Impact of funding measures on video game development in GermanyCynthia Srnec & Raquel Alquézar Crusellas & Nuria Soto Making platform work gender-inclusive and fair: the case of riders' platform cooperatives
15:20-15:50Coffee break
15:50-17:20Session 3A Gender and Digital LaborSession 3B Labour transformation and data industry (1)Session 3C Platforms and identities
Camille Dupuy & Marion Flécher & François Sarfati The effects of the pandemic on women's careers Organization, mobilization, implementationJuana Torres Cierpe Looking at micro-work through reproductive lenses in Latin AmericaSophie Bernard Racial platform capitalism Survey of Uber drivers in Paris, London and Montreal
Elvis Melia &Elizabeth Muthoni Wahu & Anne Gichuku & Peninah Murimi &Otto Kässi The 3 a.m. Phone Call: A Gendered Perspective on the Working Conditions of Kenyan Online WritersClément Le Ludec & Maxime Cornet The fallacious promises of « impact sourcing » companies: behind the « ethical platforms » narrative, the perpetuation of unfair working conditionsDamni Kain Caste in the Gig Economy: exploring the 'Spatiality' of Work in India
Aishik Saha Neoliberal Developmentality and the Data-Production Dispositif: Discourses from the Digital ‘Empowerment’ of Muslim Women in IndiaIraklis Vogiatzis Computing with the crowd: algorithmic management of human annotation in the frontier of Machine LearningSunday Udim Umoh & Samuel Uwem Migrants' place in contested Gig Economy and labour policy in South Africa
Jaylexia Clark An Examination of the Experiences and Challenges Ghanaian Women face Across the Platform Economy between 2019-2023Tianling Yang The making of data work ecosystem in China: An institutional analysisJuliana Chueri & Petter Tornberg Winners and looser of European online freelancer
Elizabeth Umoh Adetola & Gbemisola Gbadebo Oyewo Paradox of Promise, Perils and Point of Sale [POS] Alternative Payment Platforms Female Operators; The new Goldmine in NigeriaAssia Wirth Freelance Platforms in Support of the Machine Learning Industry: Redefining the Boundaries of ExpertiseFederico Chicchi & Marco Marrone Algorithmic Subjectivities at Work: Post-wage society, labour intensification and the rise of assetization
RoomEvents Room (ground floor)
17:30-18:30(Plenary 1) Short film: "VO" (Vehicle operator) by Nicolas Gourault

Day 2 | 10/10/23
RoomEvents Room (ground floor)Joseph Room (1st floor)Eliza Room (1nd floor)
Session 4A Digital Transformation and the Health SectorSession 4B Labour transformation and data industry (2)Session 4C Algorithmic Managment
09:00-10:40Maurizio Curtarelli & Emmanuelle Brun The implications of digitalisation for occupational safety and health: a focus on digital platform workAnnika Becker & Marcus Eckelt & Frank Kleemann & Inga Külpmann Voice Messaging: A new method for researching platform work Mathlide Abel & Patrick Dieuaide Into the belly of the UBER algorithm: In search of employer power
Hachelafi Hamid Digital work in health insurance organizations during the pandemic. Wellbeing or masked suffering?Paola Tubaro & Juana Torres Cierpe & Mariana Fernández & Massi Julieta Longo From the South to the North: Uses and meanings of micro-task work in ArgentinaJorge Martín González Stress at platform work and the role of algorithmic management: Evidence from Spain
Mirte van Hout & Toon Meelen & Koen Frenken The platformization of mental health care in the NetherlandsRyan Morgan Fight, flight, or make it work: Exploring workers’ practices navigating tensions between the promise and reality of microworkDigvijay Singh & Anindya Jayanta Mishra Interactions between Algorithmic Management and Labour Agency in the platform economy
Emmanuelle Brun & Maurizio Curtarelli New forms of worker management using Artificial Intelligence and their impact on occupational safety and health: evidence from EU-OSHA researchLouis Devillaine Data Scientists in the Industrial Context: between Expertise and Micro-taskingSreyan Chatterjee Regulating Algorithmic Mis-Management on Labour Platforms in India - A Case Study on Beauty Service Work
Ioannis Anyfantis & Annick Starren Artificial Intelligence based systems for the automation of tasks and implications for Occupational Safety and Health: evidence from EU-OSHA research
10:40-11:10Coffee break
11:10-12:50Session 5A Domestic WorkSession 5B The Fairwork Approach towards improving working conditions in the platform economy: methods, results and ImpactSession 5C Digital Transformations of Work
James Muldoon Matchmakers: Placement Agencies and Digital Platforms in the Carework MarketPatrick Feuerstein & Giulia Varaschin & Tobias Kuttler & Mark Graham & Martin Krzywdzinski The Fairwork Approach to improving working conditions in the global platform economyPierre Quesson & Cédric Dalmasso Digital transformation, new forms of workers’ identity changes and emotional consequences: an empirical case study
Noé Letourneux Digital Labour Platforms in home care: Impact on formalisation and working conditionsPatrick Feuerstein & Giulia Varaschin & Tobias Kuttler & Mark Graham& Martin Krzywdzinski Summary of resultsMartin Kaggwa Socio-economic ramifications to mining communities of the shift from traditional to digital mineworkers: A case study of Northern Cape Province, South Africa
Nicole Teke-Laurent Analyzing work through home service digital platforms in France in times of pandemicPatrick Feuerstein & Giulia Varaschin & Tobias Kuttler & Mark Graham& Martin Krzywdzinski Impact of the Fairwork Project on working conditions in the global platform economyJoão Pedro Ferreira Perin Bikeboys and platform work in Brazil: Perspectives beyond formal employment opportunities
Tereza Svobodová & Martin Hájek Status as a performance criterion? Analysis of workers’ reflexive profile-as-status building on carework platformsLaura Valle Gontijo Platform work and piece wages
Maria Júlia Tavares Pereira Domestic work legislation in Brazil and the rise of platforms: considerations on platform governance and regulationPia Garavaglia Labour platforms in Argentina
12:50-14:00Lunch break
14:00-15:20Session 6A Post-pandemic LaborSession 6B Platform Work from the Bottom UpSession 6C Brazil's Diverging Paths
Christoph Borzikowsky & Jens Kowalski & Stephan Raimer New Boarding – a post-pandemic working strategy for bringing employees back to the office
Ámbar Reyes Repurposing Technology for Resistance among Delivery Workers in NYCEneida Maria dos Santos Brazilian digital platform drivers: from driving to whatelse?
Aditya Ray Between ‘Digital Dis-intermediation’ and ‘Social Re-intermediation’: Labour in India’s Gig Economy during and beyond the COVID-19 LockdownPhuong Hoan Le & Vidhi Chaudhri “It is more than just a community”: On the role of collectives and communication in enabling a sense of belonging among gig workers Leonardo Rodrigues Organizing delivery workers in southern Brazil: organizational experiences, conflicts and perspectives
Vincent Manzerolle Digital Labour and the Limits of the Working Day in the Pandemic Era: Examining the Emergence and Impact of the Right to Disconnect MovementBettina Duerr Analytics for the People? Empowering workers to have a say in how
algorithmic systems are used in the workplace
Marianna Haug & Alexandre De Chiara & Bruna de Vasconcellos Torres The “Brake of the Apps” and its aftermath: The Legalization of Brazilian delivery app workers
Philippine Clot Reconfigurations of employees disconnection practices in relation to the use of digital devicesJill Toh Listening to the ground: Building collective power amongst on demand racialised workers in the NetherlandsLucas Milanez “Will the platforms leave Brazil?” Discourses of Delivery Workers about Platform Work Regulation
15:30-16:30Session 7A Agency and SurveillanceSession 7B The Digital Labor of InfluencersSession 7C Digitalization of education in times of pandemic
Cristiano Lima dos Santos LinkedIn as an expression of the world of work: Meanings of Entrepreneurial Neoliberal Culture in Platform CapitalismEugénie Pereira Couttolenc Travel influencers in pandemic timesDuygu Özalp Digitalization of Academic Labor: Examples from Turkey after Covid-19 Pandemic and 2023 Earthquakes
Srravya Chandhiramowuli, Alex Taylor, Sara Heitlinger & Ding Wang In pursuit of agency: Working within and around data annotation tools
Tinca Lukan Monetizing the leisure: Social media influencing as a means for paid social reproductive laborJulia de Souza Rodrigues & João Guilherme Leal Roorda Education in times of the Covid-19 pandemic in Brazil: impacts of remote teaching through digital technologies on the work activities of university professors (2020-2022)
Fabricio Barili Surveillance Platforms at Work:
data and workers' control in Time Doctor and Teramind
Tristan Duverné & François Le Yondre Sociological analysis of the co-production of identity and commercial work among "Lifestyle" micro-influencers on the digital platform InstagramJoanna Bronowicka Organizing in Pandemic Times: Lessons from the Case Study of Yoga Teachers in Berlin
16:30-17:00Coffee break
RoomEvents Room (ground floor)
17:00-18:00Keynote 2 Jack Linchuan Qiu (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, and author of "Goodbye iSlave: A Manifesto for Digital Abolition", University of Illinois Press, 2016) - Labor-Capital Relationships in the Softbank Empire: Lessons Learned

Day 3 | 11/10/23
RoomEvents Room (ground floor)
9:30-10:30Keynote 3 Aida Ponce del Castillo (ETUI, Belgium, tbc)
10:30-11:00Coffee break
11:00-12:30(Plenary 2) Panel: Lukas Sonnenberg (GIZ Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, Germany), Baptiste Delmas (Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, France), Fabian Stephany, Fabian Braesemann (Oxford Internet Institute, UK), chair: Uma Rani (ILO, Switzerland) "Irresponsible Technologies. Who is accountable for the workers in the AI supply chains?"
12:30-13:30Lunch Break
RoomEvents Room (ground floor)Joseph Room (1st floor)Eliza Room (1nd floor)
Session 8A Platform Cooperatives and Alternative modelsSession 8B Remote Work Session 8C Regulations in the Platform economy
13:30-14:50Rafael Grohmann Dead Platform Co-Ops: Archiving Worker-Owned Experiences in the Delivery SectorCéline Teyssier The effects of the remote work on safe and health workplace: A crossborder perspective (France-Spain)Natália Soprani Valente Muniz Where are the rules in platform work? An analysis of the legal nature of the Americanas Entregas Flash Terms and Conditions
Tim Christiaens Platform Cooperativism as a PolicyAnnarosa Pesole OSH Implications of Surveillance and Monitoring Practices of Remote WorkersRodrigo Carelli & Donna Kesselman The Digital Economy Regulation Grey Zone: North South Comparison Epistemology
Neha Vyas Assessing the potential of alternative platform models in the domestic work sector in India and South AfricaSophie Weerts Regulating remote work with pilots and regulatory sandboxes. Trojan horse of digital surveillance at work or solution for innovative and responsible digitisation?Aju John Infrastructures of Claim-Making: Platform Delivery Protests and the Labour Law in Germany and India
Julie Renard Hybrid work and collaborative sociabilities Chiara Belletti & Ulrich Laitenberger Unveiling the Demand for Data Work in the Era of AI:
Evidence from a Comprehensive Micro-Task Dataset
Shantanu Prabhat & Tejaswini Yeleswarupu Implications for India’s policy on gig and platform workers: challenges and way forward
RoomEvents Room (ground floor)
15:00-15:30Closing session and INDL-7 announcement

Keynote Speakers

Kylie Jarrett

Creation, commodification, and class in the platform economy: the labour of assetised workers

A striking feature of the platform economy is the diverse range of labour relations it allows that challenge traditional definitions of work, workers, and the mechanisms of exploitation. This paper will explore one set of workers – online creators – to question the concept of commodification as a prism for understanding the economic relations of their work. The labour of influencers, OnlyFans creators, and TikTokers is often critiqued for being a process of commodification of self and thus a site for alienation of meaningful personhood. Drawing on ideas in my new recent book Digital Labour, this talk will question this assumption. It will propose instead the framework of “assetisation” to explain the commercialisation of subjectivity in online creator work. It will go on to explore briefly the implications of this framing for how we understand the class politics at play within the platform economy.

Dr. Kylie Jarrett is Associate Professor in the Department of Media Studies at Maynooth University, Ireland. She is author of the Digital Labor (2022) and Feminism, Labour and Digital Media: The Digital Housewife (2016) and co-author of #NSFW: Sex, Humor and Risk in Social Media (with Susanna Paasonen and Ben Light, 2019) and Google and the Culture of Search (with Ken Hillis and Michael Petit, 2013) as well as a wide range of articles exploring the commercial Web. She is also editor of the new journal Dialogues on Digital Society launching in 2024.

Jack Linchuan Qiu

Labour-Capital Relationship in the SoftBank Empire: Lessons Learned

SoftBank Group, a Japanese conglomerate, operates the world’s largest tech investment fund in the era of AI-powered platform economies. Its impact has been so great that we coin the term “SoftBank Empire” to signify an imperialist model of digital accumulation that has gone global to disrupt the Silicon Valley, although it is still rooted in the historical capitalism and shifting geopolitics of Asia. What are the main components of labour-capital relationship within the SoftBank Empire and its historical predecessors in Japanese keiretsu high-tech conglomerates since the 1930s? What are the key patterns of labour exploitation and resistance, competition and solidarity, and the accelerated rise and fall of digital/high-tech empires in Asia? What lessons can we learn from the case of SoftBank Empire for digital labour struggles, policy responses and debates the world over? This talk will tackle these questions while developing a decolonial and de-imperial approach for the study of platform labour in non-western contexts in the wake of pandemic times.

Dr. Jack Linchuan Qiu is Shaw Foundation Professor in Media Technology at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He has published more than 130 research articles and chapters and 10 books in English and Chinese including Goodbye iSlave: A Manifesto for Digital Abolition (University of Illinois P, 2016), World Factory in the Information Age (Guangxi Normal UP, 2013), Working-Class Network Society (MIT Press, 2009), and co-authored book Mobile Communication and Society (MIT Press, 2005). He is a recipient of the C. Edwin Baker Award for the Advancement of Scholarship on Media, Markets and Democracy, and an elected Fellow of the International Communication Association (ICA).

Aida Ponce Del Castillo

Algorithmic management and worker rights: what scenario for what policy option?

Over the past decades, algorithmic management have transformed how work is supervised and economies are structured, but they bring challenges. Automated decisions are opaque, eroding worker autonomy, reinforcing bias, and creating income uncertainty. Further complicating matters, sensitive and personal data of workers has become a valuable commodity in the digital age, eagerly sought after by commercial interests. We need robust principles and explicit protections to safeguard workers’ data rights, including effective dispute resolution mechanisms. However, the European Union’s approach to these issues remains uncertain. In the EU, four regulatory scenarios exist, from emphasizing data protection and law enforcement to balancing protection, efficiency, and investment. Another approach streamlines regulation, prioritizing profitability. Lastly, harmonized standardization is an option. In light of these varied regulatory possibilities, the central question arises: which scenario offers the most judicious balance when it comes to protecting workers’ data rights in the face of these evolving challenges?

Dr. Aida Ponce Del Castillo is a Senior Researcher at the ETUI (European Trade Union Institute). A lawyer by training, she obtained her European Doctorate in Law, focusing on the regulatory issues of human genetics, from the Universities of Valencia and Bonn. She also holds a Master’s degree in Bioethics. Within ETUI’s Foresight Unit, her research focuses on strategic foresight and on the legal, ethical, social and regulatory issues of emerging technologies. She is a member of the Competent Authorities Sub-Group to regulate nanomaterials at the European Commission. At the OECD she is member of the Working Party ‘Bio, -Nano and Convergent Technologies’ , and AI Governance. Previously, she was the Head of the ETUI Health and Safety Unit, working on occupational health and safety policies in the EU. She also was the Coordinator of the Workers’ Interest Group at the Advisory Committee of Safety and Health to the European Commission.

Plenary Panels

VO (Vehicle Operator)

Documentary Film Screening

This plenary session offers an immersive experience into the daily lives of workers who train ‘self-driving’ cars through the documentary film “VO” (France, 2020, 19 minutes), directed by Nicolas Gourault. The starting point is a fatal accident involving an autonomous vehicle and a pedestrian, triggering an investigation into the role of human workers in training driverless cars. The voices and words of vehicle operators (VOs) guide us through a nocturnal journey where the landscape blends with the data captured by the car. This unique perspective sheds light on the crucial but often overlooked human aspect of autonomous vehicle development.

Nicolas Gourault is an artist and filmmaker whose diverse education spans contemporary art schools and the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales. Rooted in this dual background, his work serves as a bridge between artistic technique and politics, offering a documentary critique of emerging media landscapes. In addition to the short film “VO”, launched in 2020, he has also directed “This Means More” (2019, 22 minutes, about the experiences of Liverpool FC supporters in the aftermath of the tragic 1989 Hillsborough disaster) and “Owning the Weather” (2016, 6 minutes, a reflection on the now-abandoned H.A.A.R.P. research station, funded by the U.S. military, which investigated climate manipulation as a potential weapon). His latest short film, Unknown Label, just released in 2023, investigates further the neo-colonial dynamics at play in training self-driving cars through focusing on the labour-intensive process of image segmentation that is outsourced to online micro-workers from the Global South.

Irresponsible Technologies. Who is accountable for the workers in the AI supply chains?

This panel explores the responsibility dynamics surrounding the production of AI solutions within the intricate supply chains linking tech giants in the global north with subcontractors and digital labor providers in the global south. Notably, two European initiatives have emerged to chart these supply chains and evaluate the due diligence practices of French and German companies. Through a comparative analysis of these two nations, this panel aims to unveil the broader global supply chain landscape. The insights garnered from this examination hold significant implications for both academic research and policymaking, shedding light on the ethical, economic, and regulatory dimensions of AI production in a globalized world.

Dr. Lukas Sonnenberg (GIZ Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, Germany), Prof. Baptiste Delmas (Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, France), Dr. Fabian Stephany, Dr. Fabian Braesemann (Oxford Internet Institute, UK), Juliette Terrioux, Esq. (Barreau de Paris).

The panel is chaired by Dr. Uma Rani (Senior Economist, ILO, Switzerland).