Digital labour platforms and neoliberal governmentality: the case of platform workers in Turkey

Kadir Uysal, Sociology, Poltical Sciences, Istanbul Bilgi University
Economic Sociology, Economy and Society, Labor Relations, Organization, Risk and Uncertainty, Science and Technology, Sociology, Sociology of Risk and Uncertainty, Technological Change, Work
Keywords - Digital labour platforms, Gig economy, Neoliberal governmentality, Entrepreneurial Self, Subjectivities, Labour control, Worker autonomy, Platform work, Precarity

Purpose – The paper brings Foucauldian analysis of neoliberal governmentality in the discussion on the new forms of labour control within digital labour platforms. The aim of the paper is to reveal the effect of control mechanisms employed by platforms on “entrepreneurial self” within the context of work relations. Design/methodology/approach – Drawing on in-depth interviews, conducted with workers under different service categories, the author undertook an extended case study of, a digital labour platform operating in Turkey.
Findings – The study finds that competitive mechanisms employed by the platform have a considerable effect on worker self-commercialisation and self-rationalisation. This is dependent on different control mechanisms employed by the platform, based on different platform working models.
Originality/value – The research brings the worker subjectivities to the discussion of control within the scope of digital labour platforms. By undertaking a rare empirical study on this issue, it contributes to the theory of entrepreneurial self within the scope of work relations.