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The dynamics of virtual work

Posted by lostincci on June 25, 2012

Professors Rosalind Gill and Andy Pratt are part of a successful team, led by Ursula Huws, that has secured funding for a network on the dynamics of virtual work. Involving 20 countries, over a three year period, this  European (COST) initiative will facilitate seminars, conferences, knowledge and information sharing and the building of an international research network to explore how ICTS are changing work.  Partners in this exciting project include Andrew Ross (NYU); Melissa Gregg ( U. Sydney); Juliet Webster (IN3 Barcelona); Christian Fuchs (Uppsala); and Leslie Regan Shade (Concordia, Canada).  The initiative is estimated to be worth 88 million Euros.

ICTs have had a major impact on the content and location of work. Digitisation of information has transformed labour processes whilst telecommunications have enabled jobs to be relocated globally. But ICTs have also enabled the creation of entirely new types of ‘digital’ or ‘virtual’ labour, both paid and unpaid, shifting the borderline between ‘play’ and ‘work’ and creating new types of unpaid labour connected with consumption and co-creation of services. This affects private life as well as transforming the nature of work. Because of the gender division of labour, this affects women and men differently.

The changing geography of virtual work and the emergence of new value-generating virtual activities have major implications for economic development, skills and innovation policies. However these are poorly understood because they have been studied in a highly fragmentary way by isolated researchers.

This Action will distil knowledge to enable policymakers to separate facts from hype and develop effective strategies to generate new employment and economic development in Europe. It will bring together experts in the fields of communications, innovation, management, digital media, creative industries, technology, employment, economics, sociology, geography, gender studies and cultural studies to consolidate theory, map this emerging field, support early stage researchers and develop new research agendas.

The UK team comprises 4 persons: Ursula Huws and Keith Randle (Hertfordshire) and Rosalind Gill and Andy Pratt from King’s College London. CMCI’s Rosalind Gill will also sit on the Management Committee of this Action in Brussels.

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