Assessing the Job Quality of «Digital Professions»: A Case of Extreme Work
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This article assesses the practices and conditions of work in what are here defined as the new ‘digital professions’ of the knowledge economy, a largely freelance and independent workforce, in terms of job quality. The paper is based on a study of independent work that combines two urban contexts, Milan and London, and an exploratory «digital ethnographic» observation of a digital marketplace for freelancers. The analysis of digital professions in terms of job quality evidences how these are shaping up as bad job enthusiastically perceived and might be taken as exemplary cases of «extreme work», whereby long hours of work, diffused anxiety and low pay are counterbalanced with an expanded notion of subjectivity fulfilled by greater autonomy and creativity. This framework of interpretation is useful to devise an initial account of the most important «professional» features that characterise the new forms of in works the rising digital economy.
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