TaskRabbit, Uber, Airbnb and Kitchen Surfing

Hustle and Gig. Struggling and Surviving in the Sharing Economy

Platforms: The so-called sharing economy promises freedom to organize one's own working life. Sociologist Alexandrea J. Ravenelle examines the survival conditions of platform workers.

"Do you want to help your neighbor?" was on a flyer in Rema 1000 in Fårevejle a few years ago, when «sharing economy» was new and exciting. On closer reading, Rema 1000's initiative was not about sharing or helping, but about capitalizing on a social practice - facilitated by the app Vigo, which still exists and which still brands on neighbor help with shipping. The old lady, who cannot go out shopping herself, has now been joined on the Vigo website by those who are "too busy" for such profane chores as dragging their purchases home themselves.

Vigo is just a small animal in the now sprawling forest of platform-organized services aimed at individuals. It is about delegating primarily the work that people do not want to do themselves, and secondarily the work that people cannot do themselves.

In Alexandrea J. Ravenelle's new book, 3Hustle and Gig #. Struggling and Surviving in the Sharing Economy, she analyzes working methods and conditions on four major platforms in the so-called sharing economy: Taskrabbit, Uber, AirBnb og Kitchen surfing.

The app services have pushed for a development where concrete skills - acquired through formal education or practice - are downgraded. And where work is masked as anything but that.

On TaskRabbit, «Taskers» are booked to perform everything from repairing electrical installations over heavy moving…

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Nina Trige Andersen
Trige Andersen is a freelance journalist and historian.

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