Critical Political Economy of Work and Agency during and after Covid-19

Thursday 29 September 5.00 – 6.00 BST/ 6.00-7.00 CEST

The COVID-19 pandemic has only further magnified the already growing political-economic and societal power of platforms. This article delves into the different realities of platform workers by juxtaposing two cases: location-based Amazon warehouse workers and web-based Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) workers. Informed by a historical materialist approach that accounts both for the contextual conditions and the agency of workers, this article asks: how does the organisation of workers (location-based vs. web-based) relate differently to their labour organisation and mobilisation in light of the COVID-19 pandemic?

The workshop focused on one of the articles from the Global Political Economy journal launch issue:

Labour realities at Amazon and COVID-19: obstacles and collective possibilities for its warehouse workers and MTurk workers

Article available here:

Speaker and article author: Dr Sarrah Kassem is employed as a research associate and lecturer in Political Economy at the University of Tübingen, Germany after completing her dissertation on workers’ alienation and agency in the platform economy. Her general teaching and research foci are working conditions in the platform economy, labour organisation and intersectional dimensions of the labour movement.


Phoebe V Moore is Professor of the futures of work at University of Essex, School of Business. Link to bio here.

Saori Shibata is Lecturer in East Asian Studies at the University of Sheffield. Her research focuses on Japan’s political economy, including the changing nature of work, the digital economy and how Japan’s model of capitalism is transforming, with recent publications in New Political Economy, Review of International Political Economy, British Journal of Political Science, and Contesting Precarity in Japan: The Rise of Nonregular Workers and the New Policy Dissensus (Cornell University Press).