Femininity at work: Female platforms workers and Etsy.com

Clover, Anna Mary MacDonald (2023) Femininity at work: Female platforms workers and Etsy.com. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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A key component to the structuring effects of neoliberalism is its impact on the subjectivity of citizens (Brown, 2003). Individuals are increasingly induced to act as self-disciplining, self-transforming entrepreneurial citizens, fully responsible for their own successes and failures (Harvey, 2005). Viewed in tandem with the changing landscape of employment under post-Fordism, women have come to be positioned as ideal neoliberal citizens and workers (Adkins, 1999, Gill and Scharff, 2011, Harris, 2006, Morini, 2010). Women possess a cultural legacy of self- transformation and self-discipline, and their ‘natural’ feminine characteristics align with expectations of contemporary affective and emotional labour. Within this context, a narrative abounds that women can make-over work, to better suit their passions and interests. Etsy.com is the largest digital craft-selling platform worldwide and promises its largely female workforce a means towards pleasurable, self-actualising business ownership.

Through an analysis of twenty-one semi-structured interviews, this thesis explores the lived realities of women’s experiences of such freelance employment, via the Etsy.com platform. I will argue that women engaged in Etsy-based work must reconcile a complex web of competing cultural, economic, and social demands, which centre on contradictory notions of ideal femininity. Moreover, Etsy.com itself operates as a structuring force, that iterates contradictory gendered ideals of ‘successful’ femininity. How such contradictions are navigated is dependent not only on individual women’s entrepreneurial capacities but access to, and capacity to utilise, wider forms of capital.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Supervisor's Name: Dawson, Dr. Matt and Batchelor, Dr. Susan
Date of Award: 2023
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2023-83643
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2023 10:42
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2023 10:42
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.83643
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/83643

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