27-28 giugno 2023, Amsterdam, Paesi Bassi

Global Perspectives on Platforms, Labor & Social Reproduction

Nell’ambito della conferenza, il team di ricerca di Weplat ha presentato il paper:

Professionalization and informality in platform care services. The case of Babysits


The rise of digital platforms in care service can be seen as a specific response to the need to maintain profitability and to contain labour costs, both through the exploitation of regulatory loophole and casualization of work. The peculiar ambiguity of the platform lies in the ability to create different regimes of visibility in historically informal markets, while producing new informalities concerning working conditions. On the other hand, scholars have argued that digital platforms engineer professionalization processes tied to their own business model. This appears particularly relevant if we consider the “difficult professionalisation” of care work, characterized by a plurality of needs which often do not correspond to formally legitimized qualifications, and where supply often exceeds demand. The case study is part of the broader research project “WePlat: Welfare systems in the age of platforms” and it is focused on the case of  Babysits, a global platform that provide child care services. Babysits uses professionalism as an organizational strategy less oriented to empower workers, than to enrol the highest number of customers. Albeit without direct imposition of formal rules, babysitters are nudged to add competencies into their public profile and to meet a normative standard based on customers reputation and other parameters (e.g. the average time of answer).However, the increased visibility of workers does not forbid the platform to continue to take advantage from informality without governing babysitters contractualization. Moreover, weak lock-in mechanisms allow users to easily exit in order to circumvent the commission retained by the platform on transactions. Outside the platform, the power asymmetry between parents and workers is strengthened in favour of the former, and informal ways of regulating pay, tasks, and working hours are even reinforced.


Davide Arcidiacono, Università di Catania

Francesco Bonifacio, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

Ivana Pais, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore


Qui il programma completo del convegno: LINK