In recent years, there has been great concern that contracting remote or localized work through digital labor platforms will shape the future of work and employment relations (e.g., Ilsøe & Larsen, 2020). Despite a lack of agreement within the literature on whether the platform economy has been growing in steady, fast or exponential ways, it is rather safe to admit that working through platforms is a consolidated work form in the global labor market, challenging traditional full-time, dependent employment. Both the Danish government (Regeringen, 2019) and EU institutions have stressed the need to cover growing demands for flexible employment through platforms which “create jobs and improve competitiveness” (European Commission, 2018). This paper combines digital ethnography, document analysis and interviews with housecleaners and stakeholders to investigate the nexus between flexible and precarious employment in Danish housecleaning platforms. It argues that the composition of the labor force working through these platforms and the everyday practices within platform housecleaning challenge the positive character attributed to the state-supported sociotechnical imaginary of the Danish platform economy and goes further to question whether such an imaginary exists or if it forms part of a broader Danish sociotechnical imaginary of the digitalization of everyday life (cf Jasanoff, 2015). In line with this year’s DASTS theme the paper claims that digital housecleaning platforms build on the affordances inherent to the platform business model (cost-efficient algorithmic management, performativity of ratings, competition etc.) while sustaining “normal” (atypical, low-paid) employment conditions for the highly gendered and racialized workforce of housecleaners in Denmark.
|3 Jun 2022
|Published - 3 Jun 2022
|DASTS - Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark
Duration: 2 Jun 2022 → 3 Jun 2022
|02/06/2022 → 03/06/2022
- platform economy
- sociotechnical imaginaries