‘If we lower our responsiveness, the algorithm likes us less’. A biographical perspective on (losing) control in the platform economy

Me-Linh Riemann, Claudia Mara', Markieta Domecka, Valeria Pulignano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While there have been numerous – mostly qualitative – studies on the experience and the conditions of platform labour, the exploratory potential of biographical research has so far been overlooked. This article responds to this gap in research by presenting a case study of a French crowdworker, who was interviewed in the context of a larger European research project on precariousness and unpaid labour. On the basis of her autobiographical narrative, the authors reconstruct how her relationship with two online labour platforms evolved throughout the course of two years. The aim of this article is to illustrate the benefits of adopting a longitudinal, process-oriented perspective on the experience of online gig work in a biographical context. By giving informants the time and space to openly narrate and reflect about how their lives evolved, it also becomes possible for them to work through difficult past experiences and gain new perspectives. Furthermore, this research approach can be a tool to amplify ‘voices from below’ as a corrective against powerful corporate strategies. The authors aim to make the process of interpreting autobiographical narrative interviews transparent by highlighting the analytical relevance of selected formal textual features.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1
Number of pages22
JournalLabour and Indutry: A journal of the social and economic relations of work
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sept 2023


  • platform economy
  • biographical methods
  • case analysis
  • online platform work

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