Author Archives: rebeccaprentice

Deliveroo Riders Aren’t Workers, Says London Tribunal

by Rebecca Prentice In a surprise setback for trade unions attempting to organise the ‘gig’ economy, a London tribunal has ruled that Deliveroo riders are self-employed contractors, not ‘workers.’ This means that the riders do not have basic rights to minimum wage, holiday pay, and health and safety protections. They also have no right to […]

When buildings burn, from London to Dhaka

by Rebecca Prentice There is for me a sad familiarity in the story of the Grenfell Tower fire. I have spent recent years researching garment factory fires and collapses in Bangladesh. Large-scale fires, no matter where they are, have a recursive quality to them. There is always the story of the spark that begins it, […]

The Gig Economy Strikes Back: Deliveroo in Brighton

by Rebecca Prentice May 1, 2017: On a rainy evening in Brighton, more than two hundred people took to the streets to protest economic precariousness. The ‘Precarious May Day’ march was led on bicycles by Deliveroo couriers, who deliver food to online takeaway customers. Accessing delivery jobs through an app on their phones, Deliveroo riders […]

Review: Entrepreneurial Selves

by Rebecca Prentice **Reprinted from Journal of Latin American Studies.** The heroic figure of the entrepreneur is everywhere these days. She’s the small-scale ‘micro-entrepreneur’ at the centre of microfinance initiatives aimed at lifting millions out of poverty; she’s the grasping contestant on the worldwide television franchise, The Apprentice; she’s the occupational embodiment of the neoliberal directive […]

Review: The True Cost

by Rebecca Prentice **Originally published in Anthropology of Work Review (2016).** The global fashion industry is worth more than two trillion dollars, creating jobs, economic growth, tax earnings, and the products we wear every day. For consumers in the global North, the price of clothing has dropped steadily for two decades. But what does the industry […]

Beyoncé’s Anthropology of Labour

by Rebecca Prentice Last Sunday, the headline screamed: “Exposed: Sweatshop ‘Slaves’ Earning Just 44p an Hour Making ‘Empowering’ Beyoncé Clobber.” British tabloid newspaper The Sun claimed that Beyoncé Knowles’ activewear clothing line, Ivy Park (with Topshop), was made in Sri Lankan sweatshops, where workers earn just £4.30 ($6.19) a day. Copycat news articles soon followed:  “Beyoncé’s […]

Remembering Rana Plaza

by Rebecca Prentice It’s been three years since the most deadly disaster in garment manufacturing history: the April 24, 2013 collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory building in Dhaka. To mark the anniversary I am reposting a 2014 blog post that I wrote for OpenDemocracy.net. Last April, we looked on with horror at images of Rana […]