The Marketization of Everyday Life on Etsy.com: From the Platform Promise to Real Data
Jourdain, Anne (2019), The Marketization of Everyday Life on Etsy.com: From the Platform Promise to Real Data, Governance Analytics Lunch Seminar, 2019-07, Paris, France
TypeCommunication / Conférence
Conference titleGovernance Analytics Lunch Seminar
MetadataShow full item record
Institut de Recherche Interdisciplinaire en Sciences Sociales [IRISSO]
Abstract (EN)"Turn your Hobby into a Business” is one of the taglines displayed on the web platform Etsy. Created in 2005, this platform is dedicated to the sale of handmade products (clothes, decorative objects, jewels…). Today, it gathers 1.8 million sellers and 29.7 million buyers. Claiming its affiliation to the “gig economy” and advocating a “social safety net that works for everyone who works”, Etsy encourages everyone who practices handicrafts to turn themselves into professional creative entrepreneurs by selling their items on the platform. To do so, they should focus on craft while the platform would help them to market their production.Actually, the platform’s promise of a new source of (self-)employment via the professionalization of a hobby has not become a reality for most of Etsy “creators”. Only a minority earns a living thanks to the platform. Besides, this minority is not made of craftsmen or craftswomen but rather of designers who outsource the production. Moreover, the actual key to succeed on the platform is not to be a good craftsman but to invest time and effort on “digital labor” and finally to act as a mere “entrepreneur”.Based on an empirical research, the aim of the presentation is to lay the emphasis on the various uses and the diverse kinds of work generated by a lucrative platform such as Etsy. In a sociological perspective, this issue is discussed though the analysis of social class and gender (most of Etsy creators being women from the middle and the upper classes). Data is both qualitative and quantitative. By establishing a typology of Etsy creators, the presentation will question the blurring boundaries between work and play, and the increasing social value of entrepreneurship in modern capitalist societies.
Subjects / Keywordssale of handmade products; digital platforms
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