Qualification project

Global Platform Work – Negotiating Relations in a Translocal Assemblage

Research department: Economy and Civil Society

IRS Research Topic: Shared Knowledge - Locally and Over Distance Research on Innovation Processes New Social Practices

Project Leader within IRS: Anna Oechslen

Duration: 08/2018 - 02/2022


In her dissertation project, Anna Oechslen studies how graphic designers in India navigate their everyday work practices using so-called crowdwork platforms. As work relations are mediated by online platforms, a “planetary labour market” (Graham 2018) emerges, which allows designers to connect to clients all over the world. This development holds the potential to democratise access to jobs and to collaborate with experts around the world to enhance products and services.

Work processes can be organised globally with little effort, making it theoretically possible to participate equally from anywhere in the world with internet access. At the same time, the reality of crowdwork is often characterised by precarious working conditions and categories of discrimination, such as race or gender, continue to play a role. In a highly dynamic, volatile, and contingent context, platform workers perform a lot of invisible work to make and sustain connections. Thus, tension arises between the appearance of leaving behind the constraints of the ‘old’ world of work and the continuance or even consolidation of unequal structures.

To incorporate this tension, the field of research is constructed as a global assemblage (Ong/Collier 2005), produced by practices of making and sustaining relations. The analysis is based on material gathered by a combination of online observations, face-to-face and online interviews, and digital photo diaries by research participants.

The project is affiliated with the institute for anthropological studies in culture and history at Universität Hamburg. It is supervised by Prof. Dr. Gertraud Koch (Universität Hamburg) and Prof. Dr. Oliver Ibert (IRS; BTU Cottbus).

Photo collage: Jacob Lund/stock.adobe.com and TAW4/stock.adobe.com


Repenning, A., & Oechslen, A. (2023). Creative Digipreneurs: Artistic Entrepreneurial Practices in Platform-Mediated Space. Digital Geography and Society, 4, [100058]. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.diggeo.2023.100058
Oechslen, A. (2023). Global Platform Work: Negotiating Relations in a Translocal Assemblage. (Arbeit und Alltag; Vol. 25). Campus. https://nbn-resolving.org/urn:nbn:de:101:1-2023082220441408512840