Auf der Suche nach versteckter technologischer Arbeit


The COVID-19 pandemic initially drew a lot of attention to system-relevant workers in the service sector. Supermarket employees, care assistants and other workers in (traditionally underpaid and female-dominated) service professions were suddenly called “Hero(in)es” and applauded from the balconies. However, the wave of gratitude faded soon again without initiating any actual benefits for these workers. On the contrary, the pandemic put them not only in risk and under stress but also caused them additional technological labour - as we observed in our 2-year research project which was funded by the AK Digifonds (Digitalisation Funds Work 4.0 of the Chamber of Labour, Vienna). We - Nadja Bergmann, Nicolas Pretterhofer, Janis Meißner and Edeltraud Haselsteiner - are an interdisciplinary team of researchers affiliated with L&R Social Research, Urbanity and TU Wien. Our inquiry made visible the digital competencies that frontline workers employ on a daily basis in order to keep supermarkets and chemist’s shops open and to ensure that old people receive risk-free care services at their homes. More information about the research can be found here: On November 9, 14:00 - 15:30 (Austrian time/CET), we organise an online session at the virtual conference of the Community Informatics Research Network which is dedicated to the Hero(in)es of the Everyday. We present pandemic-related findings from our data that highlight the workers’ impressive degree of commitment, underestimated skill and technological adaptiveness. After that we host an interactive panel discussion with experts and raise important questions about taking action. What is needed to improve the status of the often female-dominated and generally underpaid system-relevant occupations of the service sector? Our guests are Dr. Katharina Körber-Risak (labour lawyer), Prof. Dr. Christian Swertz (educational scientist at the University of Vienna), and Astrid Schöggl (expert for digitalisation at the Chamber of Labour, Vienna). Together with the international conference audience our interdisciplinary research team they will discuss possible ways in which research projects (like ours) might effectively contribute to the revaluation of the often underrated and underpaid occupations. The online session is part of the #virtualCIRN conference 2021 “Communities, Technologies and this Moment”. Registration is open to everyone interested and free of charge: The session will be recorded, and the video will be publicly available on the conference website: 

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