Universität Wien FIND

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240067 VO+UE VM2 / VM3 - The Future of Work (2020S)

platform capitalism, automation, digitalization

Continuous assessment of course work


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first serve).


max. 25 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

geblockt im September

Wednesday 16.09. 10:00 - 14:30 Digital
Friday 18.09. 10:00 - 14:30 Digital
Monday 21.09. 10:00 - 14:30 Digital
Wednesday 23.09. 10:00 - 14:30 Digital
Friday 25.09. 10:00 - 14:30 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

Work comes in many different forms and the way people work has changed tremendously throughout history. In modern market economies featuring labor markets, wage labor becomes a pivotal factor to determine one’s life chances and access to societal resources and privileges. The role of technological innovation is particularly ambiguous: While it could potentially increase overall wealth and/or decrease the societal need for long working hours, technological change and automation continuously threaten parts of the working population with displacement. Current public debates about automation, artificial intelligence and digitalization have precipitated a resurgence of fears of unemployment and displacement among some, while others predict a future without scarcity.
This course introduces students into the sociology of work, particularly into the academic study of changing technological and work relations. Students will learn pivotal concepts from economic sociology, political economy and heterodox economics and apply them to theories of platform capitalism, automation, digitalization, digital sufficiency and degrowth. Particular attention will be given to the impact of socio-technological change on unequal North-South relations.

Assessment and permitted materials

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Active participation in class, reading the texts, preparing one group presentation based on the assigned texts, final essay

Examination topics

Reading list

Beverly Silver, "Theorising the Working Class in Twenty-First-Century Capitalism" (2013)
Jeremy Rifkin The Zero Marginal Cost Society (2014)
David H. Autor Why Are There Still So Many Jobs? The History and Future of Workplace Automation (2015)
Nick Srnicek Platform capitalism (2016)
Phoebe Moore The Quantified Self in Precarity (2018)


Association in the course directory

VM2, VM3

Last modified: We 21.04.2021 11:26