Usynliggjorte friktioner og problemfri løsninger: Digitale serviceplatforme i Danmark

Translated title of the contribution: Muted social frictions beneath ’seamless’ solutions: The case of digital labor platforms in Denmark

Research output: Contribution to conference - NOT published in proceeding or journalConference abstract for conferenceResearch


Because those who love never know what they love
Or why they love, or what love is.
To love is eternal innocence,
And the only innocence is not to think…

Fernando Pessoa wrote his Sheep Keeper long before the emergence of digital solutions, the fourth industrial revolution and the rise of surveillance capitalism. Let’s trade “love” with “consume” in the above verse and then let’s focus on digital labor platforms providing housecleaning. Danish citizens consuming platform mediated housecleaning services choose, book and pay their cleaners online in a seemingly seamless fashion. A few clicks suffice, if in a hurry they can even have the platform choose for them. What is the reality beneath these solutions, socially obscured by the eternal innocence of not thinking where the frictions lie?
Beyond the amount of work put in by platform developers, administrators and users, the invisible added effort is on the workers’ side: They don’t only have to clean but also set up and update profiles, calculate their own hourly rates based on guesstimates, assume the risks of cancellations, injuries and sickness, put effort in creating their own companies, navigate complex tax issues, strive for good ratings from customers who are frequently very demanding and endure pressure from platforms’ algorithms and administrators for constant availability and customer satisfaction. Welfare digitalization adds to these frictions, since self-service solutions are more complex for the predominantly migrant population working through digital platforms. The (de)regulation of this segment of the labor market, brought about by local and European policies creates the adequate political ecology for the proliferation of platform work within an environment of structured uncertainty. In Denmark, the recent classification of platform workers as independent companies is a good example of that. However, if consumers’ strive for minimum effort explains their “innocent” blindness regarding unfair working conditions, the sustainment of such working conditions through state policies needs to be highlighted and explained more meticulously.
Translated title of the contributionMuted social frictions beneath ’seamless’ solutions: The case of digital labor platforms in Denmark
Original languageDanish
Publication date4 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - 4 Oct 2021
EventDigital gnidningsløshed og arbejdet bag - Kunsten Museum of Modern Art, Aalborg, Denmark
Duration: 4 Oct 20214 Oct 2021


OtherDigital gnidningsløshed og arbejdet bag
LocationKunsten Museum of Modern Art
Internet address


  • platform economy
  • platforms
  • Policy analysis


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