Books

Self Tracking
Venture Labor
Surviving the New Economy

British Academy Award for “Data Work” Project

I propose to complete a book manuscript on the future of work based on over a decade of qualitative research on data-driven transformation in the construction industry. Contrary to received wisdom, my research shows that when faced with new categories of data in their jobs, front-line ‘data workers innovated to incorporate new data into the existing social structures of their workplaces. The data, funded by US NSF, includes 350 interviews and 8 years of participant-observation in 3 teams work who designed and built a hospital, a major research laboratory, and a 40-storey high-rise building. I have co-authored 28 journal and conference publications based on this research to date. For this project, I will complete a book manuscript in the sociology of technology that focuses the experience of digital transformation for workers in construction and the lessons that their experience holds for others in the era of AI and big data.

The Gendered Affordances of Craigslist “New-in-town Girls Wanted” Ads

Sex-for-rent schemes have emerged on online sites as rental options. We analyzed 583 advertisements that were posted on Craigslist in London and Los Angeles and interviewed 34 women who were or had been in these arrangements. This research yielded four key tensions: (1) navigating innuendo (mis)interpretation versus preserving arranged ambiguity, (2) the guise of amateurism and romance versus persistent specificity, (3) calculated sacrifice versus narrative of a better life, and (4) consent versus consensual non-consent. Findings attest to the affordances online platforms offer by connecting geographically dispersed parties in a low risk, anonymous forum. Furthermore, present research joins discourses on the commercialization of intimacy and forms of precarious, gendered labor while asserting Internet features are pivotal in facilitating these arrangements. We propose gendered affordances to conceptualize how individual aspirational labor efforts, combined with platform affordances, commodify intimacy for sale on the moral marketplace.

  • Schwartz, Becca, & Gina Neff. “The Gendered Affordances of Craigslist ‘New-in-Town Girls Wanted’ Ads.” New Media & Society, (May 2019). doi:10.1177/1461444819849897.  

The Political Economy of Digital Health

The Internet and digital media are increasingly seen as having enormous potential for solving problems facing healthcare systems. This chapter traces emerging “digital health” uses and applications, focusing on the political economy of data. For many people, the ability to access their own data through social media and connect with people with similar conditions holds enormous potential to empower them and improve healthcare decisions. For researchers, digital health tools present new forms of always-on data that may lead to major discoveries. Technology and telecommunications Companies hope their customers’ data can answer key health questions or encourage healthier behavior. 

  • Gina Neff, “The Political Economy of Digital Health” in Society and the Internet: How Networks of Information and Communication are Changing Our Lives. Edited by Mark Graham and William H. Dutton (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2019).

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