Crowdworkers as a New Social Class

Crowdworkers as a New Social Class

Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7089-9.ch003
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Crowdworkers are a social class which takes form from a common social and economic situation. People in a similar situation organize themselves as a whole, in order to increase their chances to improve their lives. These people were similar among different countries, and expressed similar concepts, values, lifestyles. They organized their professional activities in a similar way, had similar goals, and in the workplaces the overall organization of the relationships between members of the co-manufacturing spaces reflected these similarities. This chapter underlines some important aspects that lead to the idea of crowdworkers as a social class. Crowdworkers are economic agents and the change in society they bring is mainly recognizable at the level of economic dynamics. That said, economic dynamics come with social ones and can have a huge social impact. Although it is never easy to define how social and economic dynamics interact and influence each other, under a general point of view the authors agree with the conclusions of Federico Caffè, who believes that in society the driving force is social, and economic dynamics follow the social ones.
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New Way To Organize Work And Private Life

As Amoroso (2016) underlines, “Caffè was convinced that the economy is an important tool for the wellbeing of people. But of people within a system of emotional and social relationships from which they derive their vital lymph to which their affection and commitment must correspond.”

Co-manufacturing spaces are places where these emotional and social relationships occur between crowdworkers and are accumulation points that can foster meetings between similar people which have some goal in common.

You are willing to get involved, because no one would get involved in something in which he does not believe to the very end. All those who are here in R84 decided to transfer an activity to a new place, and this is not such an immediate decision, so I’m convinced that no one would take it without thinking about it. So if all of us were willing to do so, it means that we all believe in it. And this will allow a great bond and create a great strength between us. (Scattolini, C., Personal Communication, March 5, 2018)

Crowdworkers, as diverse as their ages, paths, experiences, and specific professions might be expresse a unified and recognizable model of doing business and living life. Priority, lifestyle, values, motivation, choices of life, income, self-perception of their social status.

They are a source of inspiration for young people and are a set in many ways blurred, but overall very recognizable.

This element of self-representation, the sharing of values and experiences as a result of professional experience, the same social framing, are elements that historically define a social class and of this there is awareness, at least in part.

We are a mix of working class and middle class. The class system is changing. We are all working class as we do things but we absolutely are entrepreneurs. I’ve not seen this particular model we are building BB in operation everywhere else in the world, so I think this is entrepreneurial. We are business men, but not exactly like most business men, as they are supposed to have profit in mind, whereas our is not for profit. (Parra-Mussel, A., Personal Communication, February 27, 2013)

Crowdworkers experiment a new way to manage their professional connections. Relationships between different companies, freelancers and other economic agents within Co-manufacturing Spaces are economic ones. Once established that, not one of them works with others solely on the basis of economic/business considerations but also on the basis of trust and personal empathy.

It is a two-stage process where empathy is the first filter and economic considerations the second one. Therefore, each Company chooses whom to relate to from a value-based standpoint and then cooperates only with those that it considers economically advantageous.

How to identify and manage social dynamics, especially among players with such diverse origins and experiences, is something that the group of peers learns over time.

In proposing the micro supply chain, the difficulty at the initial stage was mistrust, because producing and selling a product is not something easy, given for granted. And in making the farmers meet with the companies, in this phase we have taken on the role of the guarantor. All this work has served to make the various subjects talk to each other and now it's all easier. (Gerbino, D., Personal Communication, January 24, 2013)

Therefore, economic and social dynamics are not only intertwined but they are interdependent too, and this balance between different levels concretizes an environment that combines economic sustainability needs with participation, proactivity, sharing, opening and exchanging.

This balance is one of the cornerstones on which the concept of social enterprise should be based, and this is the direction the discussion is going at the European Institutions level. As was apparent in Strasbourg, with the interventions of Barroso and Schultz, during the first conference addressed to social entrepreneurs: “Entrepreneurs sociaux: Prenez la parole!” January 2014.

The concept of social enterprise is evolving, moving from a classical understanding of an enterprise which only has to deal with social issues (such as childcare, teenagers, elderly people, patient care, sheltered groups in general) to a wider definition, which, independently from the sector of affiliation and from the product or service offered, the company in pursuing its own normal business also achieves social purposes.

In the case of a Tool Library, for example, the business model is clearly going this way:

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