ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Between Precarity and Flexibility

Labour and Capital in the Gig Economy

The Gig Economy: A Critical Introduction by Jamie Woodcock and Mark Graham, UK, Cambridge and Medford: Polity Press, 2020; pp ix + 182, £14.99.


The year 2020 has been rather strange and difficult with the CoVID-19 pandemic. It is the most appropriate moment for this vital new contribution on gig work to have been published. In The Gig Economy: A Critical Introduction, Jamie Woodcock and Mark Graham outline in lucid language the workings of the gig economy. The world of gig work is a world of work that has been built on the obfuscation of where and how value from work is generated. Woodcock and Graham introduce readers to the inner workings of the gig economy—simultaneously hailed and denounced as the disruptor of traditional economies—revealing just how technology, technology corporations and workers interact within it.

The first few pages lay out deftly both sides of the debate: gig work presents itself as a job with a great deal of built-in flexibility, but also one with no linked economic guarantees and social securities. The book concerns itself with understanding the developments leading to the rise of the gig economy and specifically, its implications for workers. Divided into chapters that examine the What, Where and How of the gig economy, the book is built on interviews conducted with gig workers across countries of the global North and South. In unravelling the operations of the gig economy, it is concerned just as much with the political economy of the gig economy as the notion of the work-day within it. The readers are given insights into the macro processes, as well as the minutiae, that are transforming the world of work, where workers on platforms are scrounging for gigs, and delivery persons remain hungry as they constantly remain logged on to platforms to earn a survival wage.

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Updated On : 6th Apr, 2021
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