Sweeping Inequality - Female Domestic Cleaners in the Gig-Economy of Central Eastern Europe

Wiesböck, LauraORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8741-7922 (2024) Sweeping Inequality - Female Domestic Cleaners in the Gig-Economy of Central Eastern Europe. CENTRAL Workshop: Contemporary Cultural History 2.0., University of Vienna.

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Abstract

In contemporary capitalist societies the provisioning of domestic work has undergone and continues to undergo substantial transformations. These transformations include the externalization, commodification, and commercialization of socially reproductive labor. As part of this growing marketisation, gig economy platforms emerged as new players in this sector and position themselves as mediators between service providers and seekers. Since digital labor intermediaries play a crucial role in shaping consumer expectations and enshrining work relationships, they carry the potential to reproduce, aggravate or alter power asymmetries. Therefore, the aim of the GigClean project (funding: digifonds of the Vienna chamber of labor) is to investigate working realities of platform-mediated domestic cleaners in Vienna.

Together with her colleague Julia Radlherr, Laura Wiesböck examined the website of Betreut.at (‘takencareof.at), a subsidiary company of the international corporation Care.com Europe GmbH and one of the largest digital labor platforms for household services in Austria. By applying the walkthrough method and complementing the analysis with 15 problem-centered interviews, the following research questions are addressed: What norms, ideas, and beliefs about domestic cleaning (workers) are integrated in the design of Betreut.at? And how are the design choices of the platform reflected in working experiences of domestic cleaners in the gig economy in Vienna? The results show that practices encouraged by digitally mediated marketplaces can perpetuate the historical exploitation inherent in racially and feminized service work, further deepening normative gender and power relations.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Keynote)
Event Organiser: Research Center for the History of Transformations (RECET)
Research Units: Current Research Groups > Education and Employment
Date Deposited: 22 May 2024 06:36
Last Modified: 22 May 2024 06:36
URI: https://irihs.ihs.ac.at/id/eprint/6983

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