Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts


Media Studies


Dr. Sarah Roberts


Drawing on past and recent literature in political economy and feminist media studies, this research extends current work on technology’s disciplinary and liberatory potential for labour. This is done using an investigation of part-time retail workers’ use of smartphones in the management and experience of always-on work styles, the encroachment of work on non-work time, and whether there are alternative uses of these same technologies. Semi-structured interviews with a sample of part-time retail workers analyzed with a grounded theory approach are used to investigate participants’ direct experiences. The data reveals that the theme of gender is not as strong as expected, and that the theme of surveillance is significant in participants’ experiences. The data also indicates that participants experience a lack of routine, intensified availability expectations and a lack of structure in scheduling. Participants describe various coping mechanisms and forms of resistance that they use to manage the impact of these expectations on their daily lives and emotions.