Labor market intermediary platforms and mediatization in the Swedish gig economy.
The SWEGIG project combines working life science with media studies in order to examine the consequences of this mediatization through a case study of producers and users of these digital media platforms. The focus is on how new demands created by mediatization are placed on workers and employers, and on how the employment relationship is affected by these new labor market
In the past few years, Sweden has seen the rapid growth of a type of company using web and mobile app
platforms to match workers with casual jobs (e.g. Bonsai, Gigstr, Taskrunner, Yepstr). These companies position
themselves as part of the “gig economy” (i.e. an economy based on payment for individual “gigs” rather than
permanent employment contracts), promoting an ostensibly peer-to-peer model for organizing working life.
They crucially also function as media platforms: they create web pages, apps, and online content; they encourage users to create their own media content (e.g. ”video CVs”); and they utilize social media features (e.g. userprofiles, ”likes”). They are thus different from other labor market intermediary companies (e.g. Manpower), which do not have these media platform characteristics in Sweden; and they are different from other gigeconomy companies (e.g. Uber) because they act across many different categories of service work rather than just one. Furthermore, these companies are Swedish (i.e. founded and active here) rather than foreign entrants like Uber.
Because of their media platforms, these companies are both an instance and a driver of the increasing mediatization of working life, where elements like digital CVs including video clips and self-promotion through social media become part of the everyday working lives of young “giggers”. Working life science has long studied trends like individualization, casualization, and increased flexibility/precarity, but paid less attention to how these processes interact with mediatization and platform logics.
Funded by: FORTE (Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare).