Spring 2024 - LBST 431 D100

Selected Topics in Labour Studies (4)

Labour & Communication

Class Number: 1944

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 8 – Apr 12, 2024: Fri, 12:30–4:20 p.m.

  • 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 relationship 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 platforms   has brought promises of consumer convenience, entrepreneurial disruption, and labour flexibility. But what impact has digital technology really had on workers and workplaces? At the “high-skill” core of the job market getting a foot in the door often comes at the cost of working for free, creative jobs can be accompanied by chronic overwork, and inequities along the lines of gender, race, age, and ability are the norm. At the precarious margins of work 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 the platform economy; platform companies and platform labour; creative and passionate work; the gig economy and algorithmic management; the digital labour process; platforms and cultural work; 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 45%
  • Group Project Proposal
  • Group Presentation 10%
  • In-class Critical Responses 15%
  • Group Research Project 30%



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


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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