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Digital labour platforms and neoliberal governmentality: the case of platform workers in Turkey

Kadir Uysal (Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russian Federation and Istanbul Bilgi University, Istanbul, Turkey)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Article publication date: 22 March 2022

Issue publication date: 14 February 2023




The paper brings Foucauldian analysis of neoliberal governmentality in the discussion on the new forms of labour control within digital labour platforms. The aim of the paper is to reveal the effect of control mechanisms employed by platforms on “entrepreneurial self” within the context of work relations.


Drawing on in-depth interviews, conducted with workers under different service categories, the author undertook an extended case study of, a digital labour platform operating in Turkey.


The study finds that competitive mechanisms employed by the platform have a considerable effect on worker self-commercialisation and self-rationalisation. This is dependent on different control mechanisms employed by the platform, based on different platform working models.


The research brings the worker subjectivities to the discussion of control within the scope of digital labour platforms. By undertaking a rare empirical study on this issue, it contributes to the theory of entrepreneurial self within the scope of work relations.



The author is thankful to Denis Strebkov, Andrey Shevchuk and anonymous reviewers for valuable feedback and to Christine Gerber for helpful comments on an earlier version. The author gratefully acknowledges support from the Basic Research Program of the National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE University).


Uysal, K. (2023), "Digital labour platforms and neoliberal governmentality: the case of platform workers in Turkey", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 43 No. 1/2, pp. 142-155.



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