Global Digital Culture| Digital Labor Studies Go Global: Toward a Digital Decolonial Turn

Antonio A. Casilli


This article elucidates the global dimensions of digital labor. The field of study touching on platform-based activities has scaled up to reflect the increasing reliance of digital economies on supply chains outsourcing tasks to developing and emerging countries. To what extent can an economy predicated on data and value transfer from the Global South to the North be construed as “neocolonial”? Theoretical parallels with slavery, imperialism, and colonization fail to assess the historical uniqueness of new global inequalities. This article claims that the germane notion of “coloniality” (by relating to existing works at the intersection of race, gender, postcolonial, and subaltern studies) better addresses the dynamics of social exclusion and exploitation at play in Western and non-Western countries. I conclude by arguing for a “digital decolonial turn” pursuing the chief goal of digital labor studies: making invisible work visible.


digital labor, platform economy, coloniality, global inequalities

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