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Palgrave Macmillan

Humans and Machines at Work

Monitoring, Surveillance and Automation in Contemporary Capitalism

  • Book
  • © 2018


  • Examines how new forms of surveillance are being adopted into contemporary work
  • Draws from original empirical research engaging with existing and emerging fields of social enquiry
  • Discusses the occurrence of surveillance and new forms of measure of work in a range of industries
  • Includes supplementary material:

Part of the book series: Dynamics of Virtual Work (DVW)

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About this book

This edited collection provides a series of accounts of workers’ local experiences that reflect the ubiquity of work’s digitalisation. Precarious gig economy workers ride bikes and drive taxis in China and Britain; call centre workers in India experience invasive tracking; warehouse workers discover that hidden data has been used for layoffs; and academic researchers see their labour obscured by a ‘data foam’ that does not benefit them. These cases are couched in 


accounts of identity and selfhood experiments seen in the Hawthorne experiments and the lineage of automation. This book will appeal to scholars in the Sociology of Work and Digital Labour Studies and anyone interested in learning about monitoring and surveillance, automation, the gig economy and the quantified self in the workplace.

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Table of contents (10 chapters)


“This book is a great read for anyone interested in learning about monitoring and surveillance of the workforce using digital technologies. This book will also appeal to scholars in the field of ethics in the workplace, sociology of work, and digital labor studies.” (Swatee B. Kulkarni, Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 161, 2020)

Editors and Affiliations

  • Middlesex University, London, United Kingdom

    Phoebe V. Moore

  • Business School, Middlesex University, London, United Kingdom

    Martin Upchurch

  • University of Leicester, London, United Kingdom

    Xanthe Whittaker

About the editors

Phoebe V. Moore works at Middlesex University London. She is an internationally known researcher and lecturer who writes about labour, technology and global governance. 

Martin Upchurch is Professor of International Employment Relations at Middlesex University London. He has published more than 40 articles in the field of labour studies and industrial relations.

Xanthe Whittaker is a post-graduate student in the School of Management at the University of Leicester. Her doctoral research is an ethnographic study of digital journalism in the UK and her research interests include the digitalisation of work, atypical work, and labour process analysis.

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