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Don’t work for free: online discursive resistance to precarity in commercial photography

Don’t work for free: online discursive resistance to precarity in commercial photography
Don’t work for free: online discursive resistance to precarity in commercial photography

While increasing academic attention has been paid to the precariousness of contemporary work, less research has examined how workers organise in response. This article examines how a group of precarious workers – commercial photographers – use an online forum to resist changes to their working conditions. Our findings illustrate how the forum enables photographers to share knowledge, debate rules and organise collectively. We discuss two implications: firstly that the forum performs many of the functions of a professional association, and so gives us a new insight into how traditional forms of worker organisation may be translated in the digital realm; and secondly, that the form of collective resistance produced by the group may constitute a move beyond existing understandings of online resistance as relatively ineffectual. Our work contributes a new perspective on how precarity is reshaping workers’ collective organisation and resistance mechanisms.

discourse analysis, online methods, photography, precarity, professions, social media
0950-0170
Patrick-Thomson, Holly
e23973f7-efd5-420a-98ca-78cb245b8406
Kranert, Michael
2054176a-2b70-491b-9ee7-5388ae25296f
Patrick-Thomson, Holly
e23973f7-efd5-420a-98ca-78cb245b8406
Kranert, Michael
2054176a-2b70-491b-9ee7-5388ae25296f

Patrick-Thomson, Holly and Kranert, Michael (2020) Don’t work for free: online discursive resistance to precarity in commercial photography. Work, Employment and Society. (doi:10.1177/0950017020952630).

Record type: Article

Abstract

While increasing academic attention has been paid to the precariousness of contemporary work, less research has examined how workers organise in response. This article examines how a group of precarious workers – commercial photographers – use an online forum to resist changes to their working conditions. Our findings illustrate how the forum enables photographers to share knowledge, debate rules and organise collectively. We discuss two implications: firstly that the forum performs many of the functions of a professional association, and so gives us a new insight into how traditional forms of worker organisation may be translated in the digital realm; and secondly, that the form of collective resistance produced by the group may constitute a move beyond existing understandings of online resistance as relatively ineffectual. Our work contributes a new perspective on how precarity is reshaping workers’ collective organisation and resistance mechanisms.

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Patrick-Kranert-2020-Don’t Work for Free-Author accepted Manuscript - Accepted Manuscript
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More information

Submitted date: 30 January 2020
Accepted/In Press date: 19 July 2020
Published date: 12 November 2020
Additional Information: Publisher Copyright: © The Author(s) 2020. Copyright: Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.
Keywords: discourse analysis, online methods, photography, precarity, professions, social media

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 439572
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/439572
ISSN: 0950-0170
PURE UUID: f924dd01-1692-4f65-96a9-116f40e041c1

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 20 Jul 2020 16:31
Last modified: 26 Nov 2021 07:16

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Contributors

Author: Holly Patrick-Thomson
Author: Michael Kranert

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