Topologies of Digital Work
The book provides an edited compilation of chosen participants of the 2016 ISA World Forum held in
Vienna (Session ‘Digital Working Spaces. New geographies evolving shaped by digitisation and
virtualisation of work’) and call for papers results to add further interesting contributions in the
thematic field of the book.
The aim of the book is to make a constructive contribution to the controversial discussion about the
consequences of the digitisation and virtualisation of work, especially focusing on the new formation
of space and place. The objective is to sharpen the differentiation between space and place and to
address the consequences of emerging information spaces for previous concepts of geographical
places, work places and work spaces. The aim is to critically discuss the thesis that places in the context of work increasingly lose their importance and that arbitrariness increases with increasing technical possibilities.
Theoretical considerations that deal conceptually with the understanding of space and work will be
taken into account, as well as empirical results from different professional and work fields and
different regions of our globalised world. Being a compilation of different contributions, the books’
aim is to generate a better understanding of current developments of loosening ties between places
and work. In a broader perspective this can be the development of new geographical arrangements
in the division of labour, like the localisation, de- and re-localisation of work. In a narrow sense,
workplaces change from relatively stable geographical and physical environments (“office”) to mobile
and interchangeable places (café, beach, car, etc.). The physical offices themselves are enlarged by
information spaces such as chat rooms or IT systems supporting team work (one note/basecamp for
example) with spatial consequences for people working.
The book pursues an interdisciplinary approach and illuminates the same phenomena from different
perspectives. This expands the potential readership not only beyond the social sciences (sociology of
work, organisation studies, labour process studies) into related sciences such as economics, media
and workplace studies, human geography, anthropology and learning sciences, but also into the field
of information systems, social informatics, unions and professional associations.
The book provides an introduction to the current discussion as well as to the questions that
encompass the contributions of the edition. The individual contributions are briefly embedded in the
content and presented in short words. Each of the three sections of the book is introduced again
separately so that also selective reading is possible. At the end of the book, the editors will present a
synopsis of the authors' contributions on the questions posed at the beginning of the book, and will
give possible answers as well as identify further research topics.