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"Disembedded or Deeply Embedded? A Multi-Level Network Analysis of Online Labour Platforms"

by Tubaro, Paola (2021)


This article extends the economic-sociological concept of embeddedness to encompass not only social networks of, for example, friendship or kinship ties, but also economic networks of ownership and control relationships. Applying these ideas to the case of digital platform labour pinpoints two possible scenarios. When platforms take the role of market intermediaries, economic ties are thin and workers are left to their own devices, in a form of ?disembeddedness?. When platforms partake in intricate inter-firm outsourcing structures, economic ties envelop workers in a ?deep embeddedness? which involves both stronger constraints and higher rewards. With this added dimension, the notion of embeddedness becomes a compelling tool to describe the social structures that frame economic action, including the power imbalances that characterize digital labour in the global economy.


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Digital Labour

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