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    A smart place to work? Big data systems, labour, control and modern retail stores


    Evans, Leighton and Kitchin, Rob (2018) A smart place to work? Big data systems, labour, control and modern retail stores. New Technology, Work and Employment, 33 (1). pp. 44-57. ISSN 1468-005X

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    Abstract

    The modern retail store is a complex coded assemblage and data-intensive environment, its operations and management mediated by a number of interlinked big data systems. This paper draws on an ethnography of a retail store in Ireland to examine how these systems modulate the functioning of the store and working practices of employees. It was found that retail work involves a continual movement between a governance regime of control reliant on big data systems which seek to regulate and harnesses formal labour and automation into enterprise planning, and a disciplinary regime that deals with the symbolic, interactive labour that workers perform and act as a reserve mode of governmentality if control fails. This continual movement is caused by new systems of control being open to vertical and horizontal fissures. While retail functions as a coded assemblage of control, systems are too brittle to sustain the governmentality desired.

    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: The research for this paper was provided by a European Research Council Advanced Investigator Award, ‘The Programmable City’ (ERC-2012-AdG-323636).
    Keywords: retail; control; discipline; code/space; labour; big data; automation;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Geography
    Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Institutes > National Institute for Regional and Spatial analysis, NIRSA
    Item ID: 13134
    Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1111/ntwe.12107
    Depositing User: Prof. Rob Kitchin
    Date Deposited: 22 Jul 2020 14:28
    Journal or Publication Title: New Technology, Work and Employment
    Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Ltd
    Refereed: Yes
    Funders: European Research Council Advanced Investigator Award
    URI:

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