Volume 65, Issue 3, Summer 2021
Special Topic: Technology and Society
, Francesco Tava
The Algorithmic Disruption of Workplace Solidarity
Phenomenology and the Future of Work Question
This paper examines the development and technological mediation of the concept of solidarity. We focus on the workplace as a focal point of solidarity relations, and utilise a phenomenological approach to describe and analyse those relations. Workplace solidarity, which has been historically concretised through social objects such as labor unions, is of particular political relevance since it has played an outsize role in the broader struggle for social, economic, and political rights, recognition, and equality. We argue that the use of automated decision support systems (ADS) in labor process management may negatively affect the formation of these relations. As solidarity motivates collective political action and risk-taking, the mediation and potential obstruction of solidarity relations by ADS is politically significant. We contribute to the growing literature on the “future of work” problem in elucidating the technological mediation of workplace solidarity.