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Let’s start talking the walk: Capturing and reflecting on our limits when working with gig economy workers

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Publication date1/06/2020
Host publicationICT4S2020: Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on ICT for Sustainability
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages9
ISBN (print)9781450375955
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Gig economy platforms are having profound impacts on when and how much we work. But it is not just the qualities of work that are changing, as these platforms have also eroded workers’ rights in disempowering workers around the world whilst making use of discourses of empowerment (e.g. flexibility, entrepreneurial values) to promote themselves. `Switch-Gig’ aimed to explore this tension by promoting empowerment and justice through discussions of the future with couriers, focusing on the role of technology in this. By doing this it hoped to provide a more just response to the attempts by digital platforms (e.g. Deliveroo, UberEats) to marginalise and control workers. But this sort of activist work is hard, and it is made harder by the lack of discussion in the LIMITS community about how to weather through the challenges inherent in the processes of ethical and activist research. It is through discussions of the challenges that we can learn not only more about the communities in focus, but also from one another. In order to make space for this discussion within LIMITS, the authors focus primarily on reflecting on their approach to the research and the process itself, over the empirical data of the study. In doing this, they hope to begin a discussion of why LIMITS’ researchers should share the pains of their processes, and more effectively mobilise the understandings of the communities we research, to move together along the path to Meadows’ vision of 2030, and to start challenging the powerful structures that prevent sustainable change.