Digital Platforms and the Transformations in the Division of Labor
This chapter analyses the labor transformations linked to the platform economy from a sociological perspective, applying one of the categories best established in the literature, namely the division of labor. The first section describes the main characteristics of digital platforms, with particular attention to lean digital work platforms. The three subsequent sections interpret the transformations linked to the spread of digital platforms, based on the concept of socioeconomic formation of labor propounded by Miriam Glucksmann and articulated in division of labor in the strict sense, total social organization of labor, and instituted economic processes. The final section summarizes the main tensions that emerges between: job searching via open and inclusive platforms and forms of labor organization that create strongly polarized markets; different platform models, ranging from the most extractive types of market to collaborative economy models, which are also related to urban governance; forms of prosumerism linked to the activation and involvement of the consumer and the (self-)exploitation of free labor; and also to a new kind of value extraction from the data produced unconsciously by the platform users.