Chapter 22: From free time to idle time: Time, work-discipline, and the gig economy
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Building upon EP Thompson’s work on the temporal transformations associated with the transition to industrial capitalism, this chapter examines how contemporary regimes of precarious work shape workers’ experiences and understandings of time: how it is managed, surveilled, quantified, divided, owned, and struggled over. At a time when ‘non-standard employment’, platform-enabled gig-work, and zero-hour contracts shape workers’ expectations of their employment relations and working conditions, the question of how workers sell their labour-time - and how they experience their idle or free time - is increasingly important for understanding the mystifications of today’s capitalism, as well as for cultivating class consciousness and solidarity.

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