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Biography & Abstract
Nicola Ens

Nicola is a PhD candidate at the Department of Digitalization, CBS, defending her thesis shortly. She works on an ethnographic study of resellers, investigating the ways multi-sided platforms structure labor relations and the wider implications of these structures on their environments.

Sustainability and responsibility of digital hustling

With rising socioeconomic precarity, hustling on digital platforms has become an increasing work mode in neoliberal capitalism. The promise of hustling is being your own boss, a micro-entrepreneur with endless hustles across diverse platforms. However, rather than emancipation, the reality of work on platforms is more often insecurity, overwork and burnout. In this study, I present evidence of how digital platform technology creates precisely such patterns. For this purpose, I draw on an in-depth ethnography of the Poshmark reselling ecosystem. Here, predominantly female digital hustlers resell clothing and create related content on platforms like Instagram and YouTube. Specifically, I demonstrate how digital technology creates a pattern of work intensification, which, left unchecked, leads to involution or internal complexity and inefficiency. Such patterns suggest work on platforms in its present is largely unsustainable.

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