Kristina ZAMPOUKOS, Uppsala University , Sweden
Olivia BUTLER, Uppsala University , Sweden
Relational space has long been touted as the dimension of topological openness, but in the everyday lives of most people, this openness is capricious. Nowhere is this truer than in the gig-economy; where the politics of possibility masquerade as temporal and spatial ‘flexibility’, but are felt as exhaustion and precarity.
The gig-economy disrupts conventional ideation on space in multiple ways. It is composed of a largely migrant workforce whose practices are embedded; couriers operate in public spaces, at the right place at the right time, cleaners and carers work in the private spaces of people’s homes and online workers are tethered to their computers- stationary. It is administered through the highly mobile and shifting, often international, digital structures of platforms. Social networks are (re)created by gig-workers through the simultaneous processes of integration and translocalism, seeking job security in Sweden, but constructing safety nets with workers of the same nationality. It necessitates a recognition of the gig-economy as both a novel phenomenon and the latest manifestation of increasing labour precarity, representing the unchanging nature of labour exploitation.
The gig-economy requires us to think through spatial dissonance as it is fraught with contradictions, and thus far we lack adequate spatial conceptions for its analysis. Relational space is critiqued for its inability to account for power and hegemony (Jones, 2010), whilst scale is scrutinised for imposing hierarchies and ignoring connectivity (Marston, 2005). The gig-economy, however, requires both; an understanding of how some are able to exploit the openness of space, whilst for others it remains closed. It requires a dialectical consideration of scalar sites, from the individual to the societal, quotidian to the long term - and all in between- as vantage points through which to study a phenomenon (Ollman, 2003) as well as a recognition that these are constantly (re)negotiated.
Mots clés : Relational Space|Gig Economy |Geographies of Scale|Dialectic