I have a new publication coming out soon in the Review of African Political Economy, with my colleague Mark Graham. The paper is based on the research we have been carrying out over a number of years in Africa. It deals with the role African digital labour is playing in the global information economy and helping create and develop some of the contemporary digital technologies that we use today. The link to download this paper is below.
Anwar, M. A. and Graham, M. (Forthcoming) Digital Labour at Economic Margins: African Workers and the Global Information Economy, Review of African Political Economy.
In discussions about the locations that make up the key productive nodes of the digital economy, African workers rarely gets a mention. The main aim of our paper is to make visible the invisible and bring light to the role African workers are playing in developing key emergent and everyday digital technologies such as autonomous vehicles, machine learning systems, next-generation search engines and recommendations systems. Once we acknowledge that many contemporary digital technologies rely on a lot of human labour to drive their interfaces, we can begin to piece together what the new global division of labour for digital work looks like and build greater socio-political responses (both at the global and local scale) to make some of these value chains more transparent, ethical and rewarding.
Some of our other new and forthcoming publications on digital labour in Africa from the Geonet Project are:
An article in Competition and Change which touches the theme of the gig economy in Africa and its implications on job quality.
- Anwar, M. A. and Graham, M. (Forthcoming) Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Freedom, Flexibility, Precarity, and Vulnerability in the Gig Economy in Africa, Competition and Change.
Also, a recently published article in Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space examines labour agency in the gig economy. Link to Free Access download is here.
- Anwar, M. A. and Graham, M. (2019) Hidden Transcripts of the Gig Economy: Labour Agency and The New Art of Resistance among African Gig Workers. Environment and Planning A. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0308518X19894584.
- Graham, M., and Anwar, M. A. 2019. The Global Gig Economy: Towards a Planetary Labour Market?First Monday. 24(4). doi.org/10.5210/fm.v24i4.9913.
- Woodcock, J. and Graham, M. 2019. The Gig Economy: A Critical Introduction, Cambridge: Polity.
- Graham, M. and Anwar, M.A. 2018. Digital LabourIn: Digital Geographies Ash, J., Kitchin, R. and Leszczynski, A. (eds.). Sage: London. 177-187.
- Anwar, M. A., and Graham, M. 2019. Does economic upgrading lead to social upgrading in contact centers? Evidence from South Africa. African Geographical Review. DOI: 10.1080/19376812.2019.1589730