A Relational Work Perspective on the Gig Economy: Doing Creative Work on Digital Labour Platforms
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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- Scientific articles 
Original versionWork, Employment and Society. 2022, . 10.1177/09500170221103146
Based on interviews with 49 visual artists, graphic designers and illustrators working on two leading global digital labour platforms, this article examines how creative workers perform relational work as a means of attenuating labour commodification, precarity, and algorithmic normativity. The article argues that creative work on online labour platforms, rather than being entirely controlled by depersonalised, anonymised and algorithm-driven labour market forces, is also infused in relational infrastructures whose upkeep, solidity and durability depends on the emotional efforts undertaken by workers to match economic transactions and their media of exchange to meaningful client relations. By applying a relational work perspective from economic sociology to the study of platform-mediated gig work, the article elucidates the micro-foundations of creative work in the digital gig economy, including how labour inequalities are produced and reproduced within and around micro-level interpersonal interactions.