“Sure, I Saw Sales, but It Consumed Me” from Resilience to Erosion in the Digital Hustle Economy

Nicola Ens*, Attila Marton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Abstract

With increasing socioeconomic precarity and ecological threat, resilience has become the individual responsibility and moral obligation of the neoliberal subject. Digital labor platforms are a clear expression and beneficiary of this development, offering hustling as a way to gain resilience as a micro-entrepreneur. However, we present evidence to the contrary, demonstrating how hustling in the digital economy erodes resilience on a systemic level. For this purpose, we draw on an in-depth, ecological ethnography about Poshmark, a social commerce platform for predominantly female hustlers to sell clothes. We tell the story of a pattern set in motion by the rapid scaling of the platform, which requires hustlers to do more and more click-work to yield smaller and smaller sales. As a result, they are caught up in a runaway dynamic that erodes the resilience of the ecology as a whole.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNew Media & Society
Number of pages20
ISSN1461-4448
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Epub ahead of print. Published online: November 5, 2021.

Keywords

  • Digital platforms
  • Ecology
  • Ethnography
  • Hustling
  • Resilience

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