CfP: Crowdwork and platform work: Finding new strategies to organise in Europe

Call for papers, deadline 31 July 2021

Special Issue Journal of Labor and Society (Brill)

Crowdwork and platform work: Finding new strategies to organise in Europe

The breakthrough of digital labour platforms and, more broadly, the gig economy in the context of the Fourth industrial revolution seems to point to the end of the salary-based work, also signalling the full liberalization of services and the spread of competition worldwide (Drahokoupil, 2015; Estanque et al., 2018). In a context of digitalisation and globalisation, the use of online platforms for managing work, has led to intense precariousness of labour relations, creating profound changes regarding the structure of employment, where collective action and organization of workers face new obstacles. 

Very little is known about workers in these digital platforms, how their relationships are established, and without access to social support. These new 'collaborative' platforms organize work devaluing it through the illusory of a non-working relationship of their workers who have been transformed into independent service providers, competing with each other, and, allegedly, not subject to the hierarchy the company (Moniz and Boavida, 2019:9). Nevertheless, emerging patterns of representation and collective voice and new synergies between the organizational capacity of the most conventional forms are arising (Vandaele, 2018). The increasing use of disruptive capacity by these workers points to an associative power that derives from their self-organization, combining cyberactivism with grassroots protests to gain 'voice' and bargaining power (Estanque et al., 2018). Technologies of information and communication can be used as forms of recruitment and mobilization, contributing to the revitalization of the trade union movement (Diamond and Freeman, 2002). Social networks can provide a sense of community for dialogue between delegates and workers, where they can discuss and anonymously pose their questions and receive community-oriented messages (Roque, 2021).  

This special issue draws upon results from desk research, literature review and exploratory interviews carried out in Portugal, Spain, Germany, and Hungary. The call intends to contribute to the emerging literature on digitalization and its impact on work and workers' organizations. We would like to receive case studies with a focus on scientific and public debates, as well as on the most prominent initiatives, actions, protests, and conflicts related with organizing digital platform workers and freelancers in crowdwork and digital labour platforms. The key themes featured in this issue are the relationship between the use of digital communication technologies and power relationships, working conditions of digital workers and crowd-workers, and forms of collective action. The papers can also be aimed at expanding on the literature on digitalization and labour, discussing their implications for future research.

Keywords: Digital Labour platforms; Crowd-work; Trade unions; Alternative movements; Organization


Abstract and Keywords Author(s) should include an abstract of approximately 150 words and supply 5-8 keywords.

Length submissions: Special issue articles (5,000-8,000 words)

Chicago Manual of Style (15th edition)

Deadline: 31th July 2021 

Request for further information about this Call for Papers can be sent to the organizer: