Spring 2022 - LBST 431 D100

Selected Topics in Labour Studies (4)

Labour & Communication

Class Number: 2693

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Fr 12:30 PM – 4:20 PM
    HCC 2205, Vancouver

  • Instructor:

    Enda Brophy
    1 778 782-8085
    Office Hours: By appointment
  • Prerequisites:

    Will vary according to topic. LBST 101 is strongly recommended for all upper division LBST courses.



Selected topics in areas not currently offered within the undergraduate course offerings. Students may take more than one offering of LBST Special/Selected Topics courses for credit as long as the topic for each offering is different.


This course explores the intersection between labour and digital technology, including what work is like in the media and communication industries, how digital technologies are reshaping the world of work, and how workers and their organizations are responding to these transformations. The rise of “platform economy” discourse has brought with it promises of consumer convenience, entrepreneurial freedom, and labour flexibility. But what impact has digital technology really had on workers and workplaces? At the “high-skill” core getting a foot in the door often comes at the cost of working for free, creative jobs can be accompanied by chronic overwork, and gender and racial inequities are the norm. At the precarious margins of the labour market digital platforms have brought algorithmic management, unprecedented surveillance, and low pay. Addressing these problems is a major challenge facing workers, their organizations, and policymakers, and the development of collective solutions is a central focus of this course. Topics examined during the semester include precarious employment and the gig economy; platform companies and platform labour; online work, entrepreneurialism and new worker identities; the digital labour process; labour resistance and collective organization; global divisions of digital work; platform cooperativism.


The seminar format is participatory and collaborative. Each week the instructor will offer an introduction to the topic, after which the group will discuss themes selected from the weekly readings. Regular, respectful, and informed participation is an essential component of the seminar and forms a significant portion of the final grade.


  • Participation 30%
  • Group Project Proposal (due on week 7) 5%
  • Group Presentation (Week 12 or 13) 10%
  • Critical Summary Assignment (due on week 5) 20%
  • Group Research Project (due on week 12 or 13) 35%


Grading: Where a final exam is scheduled and the student does not write the exam or withdraw from the course before the deadline date, an N grade will be assigned. Unless otherwise specified on the course syllabus, all graded assignments for this course must be completed for a final grade other than N to be assigned. An N is considered as an F for the purposes of scholastic standing.

Grading System: The Undergraduate Course Grading System is as follows:

A+ (95-100) | A (90-94) | A- (85-89) | B+ (80-84) | B (75-79) | B- (70-74) | C+ (65-69) | C (60-64) | C- (55-59) | D (50-54) | F (0-49) | N*
*N standing to indicate the student did not complete course requirements

Academic Honesty and Student Conduct Policies: The Labour Studies Program follows SFU policy in relation to grading practices, grade appeals (Policy T 20.01) and academic honesty and student conduct procedures (S10.01‐S10.04). Unless otherwise informed by your instructor in writing, in graded written assignments you must cite the sources you rely on and include a bibliography/list of references, following an instructor-approved citation style.  It is the responsibility of students to inform themselves of the content of SFU policies available on the SFU website.

Centre for Accessible Learning: Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need classroom or exam accommodations are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (1250 Maggie Benston Centre) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion.



Course readings will be available either online through the SFU electronic journals system or via Canvas.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with safety plans in place.  Some courses will still be offered through remote methods, and if so, this will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the spring 2022 term.