Sociology of The Gig Economy (Fall 2020) examines the complex and dynamic relationship between work, technology and society by looking at the “gig” economy, a labor market that challenges traditional ideas of economy. We will address the following questions through sociological and social scientific research and theorizing. What is the “gig” economy? What makes a worker a gig worker? What is the role of technology in the gig economy? How does the government respond to the development and proliferation of the gig economy? Rather than viewing the gig economy as a uniquely twenty-first century phenomenon, this class will examine long-term historical, economic, political and social forces that have changed and shaped working conditions and given rise to the contemporary gig economy.

Required Books:

Gray, M. L., & Suri, S. (2019). Ghost work: how to stop Silicon Valley from building a new global underclass . Eamon Dolan Books.

Ravenelle, A. J. (2019). Hustle and Gig: Struggling and surviving in the sharing economy. Univ of California Press.


The reporting assignments, including Gig Platform Report, Article Summary, Literature Review are designed to enhance your understanding of the gig economy through reporting information about the gig economy. The podcast episode assignment incorporates podcasting technology into research, and disseminating research. The final research paper will shows your mastery of the knowledge that you gain from this class.

  • Gig Platform Report The report will be your first deep dive into one gig platform. It is worth 10% of your total grade.

  • Article Summary You can choose one research article, or an original report provided in the class syllabus to summarize. The summary will be published on the class website as a public-facing scholarship. In this class, we will publish two different types of scholarships: article summary, and an original podcast for public consumption.

  • Podcast Episode As a class, we will produce one one-seasoned podcast focusing on the Gig economy. You are reponsible to produce one episode for your mid-term work. The podcast episode should be between 15-25 minutes. You are the co-host of the podcast along with your classmates, and the professor. You're reponsible to find an podcast guest who is working in the Gig economy, or who is doing research, and public policy work that is trying to regulate the gig economy.

  • Final paper Your final research paper will show your mastery of the knowledge, and your original idea of one topic in the gig economy.

  • Attendance/class participation Regular attendance is one of the most important parameters to successful completion of the course requirements. Even though I will not take attendance, I expect that you read required readings before class, and participate in classroom discussions.

Grade Calculation (%)

The final grade will be calculated as follows:

Gig Platform Report 10%
Article Summary 10%
Podcast Episode 30%
Research Prospectus 5%
Literature Review 15%
Final Research Paper 30%

Cumulative numerical averages of 90 - 100 are guaranteed at least an A-, 80 - 89 at least a B-, and 70 - 79 at least a C-. For the specific range of letter grades, consult the syllabus document.

Contact us at nthan [at] gradcenter.cuny.edu if you're interested in learning more about our class.