The cultural work of microwork

Crowdsourcing systems do more than get information work done. This paper argues that microwork systems produce the difference between “innovative” laborers and “menial” laborers, ameliorating resulting tensions in new media production cultures in turn. This paper focuses on Amazon Mechanical Turk (AMT) as an emblematic case of microwork crowdsourcing. Ethical research on crowdsourcing has focused on questions of worker fairness and microlabor alienation. This paper focuses on the cultural work of AMT’s mediations: divisions of labor and software interfaces. This paper draws from infrastructure studies and feminist science and technology studies to examine Amazon Mechanical Turk labor practice, its methods of worker control, and the kinds of users it produces.

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The cultural work of microwork
Irani, L. (2013),'The cultural work of microwork,' New Media and Society 17(5).

Metadata

  • Amazon Mechanical Turk
  • professional services
  • Online moderately skilled click work
  • United States
  • 2013
  • Research publication, Case study-platform
  • client characteristics, autonomy, flexibility and control, motivation
  • English
  • New Media & Society (Publisher)
  • Qualitative research
  • Subscription
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