Digital labour platforms reframe the disintegration of work into granularized tasks and gigs as micro-entrepreneurship and hustling. Celebrated as economic ownership, hustling embodies an individualistic ideology where a “make do” attitude in the face of socio-economic hardships is the ultimate achievement of the neo-liberal subject. Hustling is then a broader logic in leveraged by labour platforms in precarious conditions. Despite much valuable research of hustling on service platforms, such as Uber and TaskRabbit, insofar comparatively little work has investigated goods platforms, such as Ebay and Etsy. This paper takes departure in a 26-month ethnographic study following one specific American reselling platform called Poshmark. The platform is best described as Instagram meets eBay, and digital platform meets Tupperware, and other similar female multi-level marketing firms. The vast majority of sellers are women, many are stay at home mothers, balancing demands of family and financial freedom, while others are students or part-time employees, who sell as a convenient ‘side hustle’. The platform is highly gendered, celebrating female comradery and empowerment, and drawing on network-based selling, support and recruitment. The experiences of the women who sell through Poshmark tell us much about the gendered experience of platform hustling and the American female labour condition. There are for instance high degrees of fulfilment in running a business, and many women point to a newfound sense of ownership which flexibly fits around the counters of their other obligations. However, there are also pressures to keep up with an app-enabled overlord, engaging in clickwork more or less constantly, while simultaneously being subject to evolving infrastructure, policy changes and an increasingly saturated markets This study thus explores the politics and ethics of labouring on Poshmark from the perspective of the lived experience of the Seller Stylists who experience it every day.
|Number of pages||1|
|Publication status||Published - 2021|
|Event||Politics and Ethics of Platform Labour: Learning from Lived Experiences - WWW|
Duration: 13 Apr 2021 → 15 Apr 2021
|Conference||Politics and Ethics of Platform Labour|
|Period||13/04/2021 → 15/04/2021|