Sandro Mezzadra

Beyond Recognition. Digital Platforms and Transformations of Labor

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The essay starts with a discussion of the legal and political logic of recognition with respect to labor and labor relations. Such a logic is historically and geographically contextualized in the framework of the development of industrial capitalism and in particular of mass industrial production, i.e., Fordism. The notion of a «standard labor relation» associated to this development is then critically analyzed. It is from this angle that the author discusses the emergence of digital, and more specifically platform labor, which radically challenges any idea of a standard labor relation. Several dimensions of platform labor are explored, from algorithmic management to the explosion of the working day, from its peculiar cooperative nature to experiences of self-organization. As an instance of «labor beyond recognition», platform labor allows shedding light on wider transformations of labor and asking crucial questions on the position of labor in a project of radical transformation today.


  • Recognition
  • Fordism
  • Platform Labor
  • Multiplication of Labor


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