Left to Our Own Devices: A Conversation with Julia Ticona


Over the past three decades, digital technologies like smartphones and laptops have transformed the way we work in the US. At the same time, workers at both ends of the income ladder have experienced rising levels of job insecurity and anxiety about their economic futures. In Left to Our Own Devices: Coping with Insecure Work in a Digital Age (Oxford UP, 2022), Julia Ticona explores the ways that workers use their digital technologies to navigate insecure and flexible labor markets. Through 100 interviews with high and low-wage precarious workers across the US, she explores the surprisingly similar "digital hustles" they use to find work and maintain a sense of dignity and identity. Ticona then reveals how the digital hustle ultimately reproduces inequalities between workers at either end of polarized labor markets. 

A moving and accessible look at the intimate consequences of contemporary capitalism, Left to Our Own Devices will be of interest to sociologists, communication and media studies scholars, as well as a general audience of readers interested in digital technologies, inequality, and the future of work in the US.

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Lee Vinsel

Lee Vinsel is an associate professor in the Department of Science, Technology and Society at Virginia Tech. He studies human life with technology, with particular focus on the relationship between government, business, and technological change. His first book, Moving Violations: Automobiles, Experts, and Regulations in the United States, was published by Johns Hopkins University Press in July 2019.

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