For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"The Cultural Work of Microwork"

by Irani, Lilly (2015)


Crowdsourcing systems do more than get information work done. This paper argues that microwork systems produce the difference between ?innovative? laborers and ?menial? laborers, ameliorating resulting tensions in new media production cultures in turn. This paper focuses on Amazon Mechanical Turk (AMT) as an emblematic case of microwork crowdsourcing. Ethical research on crowdsourcing has focused on questions of worker fairness and microlabor alienation. This paper focuses on the cultural work of AMT?s mediations: divisions of labor and software interfaces. This paper draws from infrastructure studies and feminist science and technology studies to examine Amazon Mechanical Turk labor practice, its methods of worker control, and the kinds of users it produces.

Key Passage

doi: 10.1177/1461444813511926 ()


Crowdsourcing, Cloud Computing, Gendered Labour, Invisible Work, Peer Production, Microwork, Digital Labour, Turker, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon (Company), Control, Infrastructure Studies, Feminist Studies, Alienation


Digital Labour, Capitalism, Digital Labour, Automation

Links to Reference



How to contribute.