Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Information Studies


Steve Sawyer


Gig work, Identity, Intersectionality, Longitudinal, Marginalization, Online freelancing


This dissertation examines how platforms and identity attributes such as gender, race and occupation mediate individuals’ evolving participation and outcomes in online freelancing. I approach the investigation through an intersectionality lens to build insight into the dynamics of workers’ identity attributes and how these are embedded in online freelancing platforms. The research design draws on a longitudinal panel study with 108 online freelancers, working on More than 400 interview and survey responses as well as secondary platform data are incorporated in the study’s analysis. Findings illuminate that platforms reinforce and exacerbate gender, race and occupation stereotypes. Data also demonstrate that identity attributes are not mutually exclusive but instead are interrelated and mediated through the platform’s features and terms. Over time, freelancers adjust their platform efforts to navigate their evolving work arrangements and the precarity of online freelancing. Together, the findings contribute to our understanding of 1) the differential experiences of freelancers, 2) how platforms mediate intersectionality and marginalization and 3) the role of online freelancing in workers’ trajectories.


Open Access