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The algorithmic disruption of workplace solidarity: Phenomenology and the future of work question

Meacham, Darian; Tava, Francesco

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Authors

Darian Meacham



Abstract

This paper examines, both historically and conceptually the development and technological mediation of the concept of solidarity. We argue for both an emphasis on the workplace as the locus of solidarity relations and for a phenomenological approach to describing and analysing these relations. On the basis of this approach, we then argue that algorithmic or automated decision support systems (ADS) may impact the formation of workplace solidarity relations. Solidarity relations are social objects that are mediated by a social-technological milieu and cannot be characterized in abstraction from this context. The focus on workplace solidarity is justified on the grounds that solidarity relations formed within the workplace and concretised via, for example, social objects such as labour unions, have played an outsize role in the broader struggle for social and political rights, recognition, and social, political and economic equality. The mediation and potential obstruction of solidarity relations by automated decision support systems is significant as solidarity can be understood as politically productive and desirable insofar as it motivates collective action and risk-taking. We hope to contribute to the growing literature on the "future of work" problem in elucidating the technological mediation of this central political concept.

Citation

Meacham, D., & Tava, F. (2021). The algorithmic disruption of workplace solidarity: Phenomenology and the future of work question. Philosophy Today, 65(3), 571-598. https://doi.org/10.5840/philtoday2021519408

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 8, 2020
Online Publication Date May 26, 2021
Publication Date Jul 1, 2021
Deposit Date Mar 8, 2021
Publicly Available Date Jun 27, 2021
Journal Philosophy Today
Print ISSN 0031-8256
Publisher Philosophy Documentation Center
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 65
Issue 3
Pages 571-598
Series ISSN 0961-5970
DOI https://doi.org/10.5840/philtoday2021519408
Keywords Solidarity; future-of-work question; phenomenology; technological mediation; social objects; algorithmic decision support systems; platform labour
Public URL https://uwe-repository.worktribe.com/output/7192557

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