Conference on Virtual Work – Call for Papers, the University of Hertfordshire, UK, September 3-5, 2014

Sponsored by COST (European Co-operation in Science and Technology), Work Organisation Labour and Globalisation, Competition and Change and Triple C

To be held at the University of Hertfordshire, UK, September 3-5, 2014

Globalisation and technological change have transformed where people work, when and how. Digitisation of information has altered labour processes out of all recognition whilst telecommunications have enabled jobs to be relocated globally. But ICTs have also enabled the creation of entirely new types of ‘digital’ or ‘virtual’ labour, both paid and unpaid,  shifting the borderline between ‘play’ and ‘work’ and creating new types of unpaid labour connected with the consumption and co-creation of goods and services.  The implications of this are far-reaching, both for policy and for scholarship. The dynamics of these changes cannot be captured adequately within the framework of any single academic discipline. On the contrary, they can only be understood in the light of a combination of insights from fields including political economy, the sociology of work, organisational theory, economic geography, development studies, industrial relations, comparative social policy, communications studies, technology policy and gender studies
COST Action IS1202 brings together an international network of leading experts from 29 European Countries with researchers from other parts of the world to develop a multi-faceted approach to understanding these phenomena. This international conference will open up an interactive dialogue between scholars both inside and outside the network. Papers drawing on theoretical, methodological or empirical research are welcomed on the following topics:

The new international division of labour
– Restructuring of value chains – theoretical perspectives
– Relocation or Global sourcing? New patterns of spatial mobility
– Does ‘place’ still matter, and why?
– Interactions between the gender division of labour and the spatial division of labour.

Changes in skills and occupational identities in the digital economy
– The creation of new occupational identities and the disintegration of old ones
– Reskilling or deskilling? New forms of Taylorisation or new opportunities for creativity?
– Changing patterns of working time, work-life balance and gender division of labour
– New forms of organisation inside and outside the workplace

Value creation in the Internet Age
– The monetisation of the Internet – theoretical and methodological challenges
– Commodification and value creation in online activities
– ‘Prosumption’, ‘co-creation’ and ‘playbour’: conceptualising the shifts between labour, consumption and leisure activities
– Virtual work and immaterial production (including crowdsourcing, goldfarming and other forms of online work)
– Policy implications of virtual work

Implications of virtual work for employment in creative industries
– User-generated content – threat or opportunity for employment?
– Implications of virtual work for work-life balance and equality
– Regulation of work and industrial relations in virtual work environments (the global context)
– Implications of virtual work for work-life balance and equality
– Effects of virtual work on occupational profiles, skills and HR practices
– The conference will be organised in four streams, with plenary sessions on each day.

All submissions will be subject to peer review.

Deadline for submission of extended abstracts: January 31st, 2014

Confirmation of acceptance: April 30th, 2014

Some scholarships may be available for attendees from Developing Countries.

For more information: