Virtual reality technology for surgical learning: qualitative outcomes of the first virtual reality training course for emergency and essential surgery delivered by a UK–Uganda partnership

Introduction The extensive resources needed to train surgeons and maintain skill levels in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) are limited and confined to urban settings. Surgical education of remote/rural doctors is, therefore, paramount. Virtual reality (VR) has the potential to disseminate surgical knowledge and skill development at low costs. This study presents the outcomes of the first VR-enhanced surgical training course, ‘Global Virtual Reality in Medicine and Surgery’, developed through UK-Ugandan collaborations. Methods A mixed-method approach (survey and semistructured interviews) evaluated the clinical impact and barriers of VR-enhanced training. Course content focused on essential skills relevant to Uganda (general surgery, obstetrics, [...]

2024-02-01T16:19:40+00:0029 January 2024|

The future of work and working time: introduction to special issue

This introduction to the special issue on the future of work and working time offers an overview of issues of relevance to present-day debates on working time. The aim is to bring together two divergent debates, the first on working time reduction for full-time workers and the second on the diversification and fragmentation of working time. It considers the history of working time including the forces that led to the establishment of the standard employment relationship and to reductions in standard working hours. It addresses contemporary trends and examines why there has been both a stalling of working time [...]

2024-01-26T09:41:53+00:0026 January 2024|

Platform Labour Unrest in a Global Perspective: How, Where and Why Do Platform Workers Protest?

Labour unrest by platform workers is a growing global phenomenon, but several questions require deeper understanding. What motivates platform labour unrest? Which actors and strategies are involved? How does this vary across regions? Systematic answers are hindered by the lack of large datasets. Uniquely, this article analyses a global dataset comprising 1271 instances of platform labour unrest. It reveals two main dimensions of platform labour struggle: those defending or extending protective regulatory institutions (regulatory protests); and those seeking a larger share of value created (distributive protests). The former more often involve mainstream unions and methods like legal challenges. The [...]

2024-01-16T11:02:21+00:0016 January 2024|

Law As Code: Exploring Information, Communication and Power in Legal Systems

This paper is an inquiry into the informational nature of legal systems to arrive at a new understanding of law-society interactions. Katharina Pistor in her book Code of Capital reveals how the legal ‘coding’ of ‘capital’ has deepened wealth inequality but does not offer an in-depth exploration or definition of ‘legal coding’. In her critical response to ‘legal singularity’ as a proposed solution for making law more inclusive and accessible, Jennifer Cobbe calls for a closer look at the structural role law plays in society and how it has come to exclude, marginalise and reinforce power gaps. The paper aims to [...]

2024-01-18T11:55:36+00:0015 January 2024|

Better outcomes for everyone? The UK’s fragmented digital ecosystem of work and welfare

Summary Digitalisation is rapidly transforming work, with consequences for job quality, quantity, security and social protections. At the same time, many countries are moving towards ‘digital by default’ welfare services. In this context, the UK Government’s roadmap for digital and data aims to deliver a “transformed, more efficient digital government that provides better outcomes for everyone”. Our research assessed the effectiveness of these ongoing digital transitions in the UK and six European countries. Our findings highlight the importance of understanding policy, and its implementation, in the context of a wider ‘digital work and welfare ecosystem’. In this ecosystem, [...]

2024-01-08T13:41:07+00:0023 November 2023|

Delivering flexible working in practice: an agile approach

Summary In the UK, up to 4 million working adults have some form of flexi-time arrangement, and around 40% of working adults work from home at least once a week (ONS, 2023; Statista, 2022). The new Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act aims to further improve workers’ access to flexible working, with cross-party commitments to also make the right to request flexibility a day-one employment right. However, to fully realise the economic and social benefits of both formal and informal flexible working, implementation will be key and employers need updated guidance. Our research identifies three key challenges for successful [...]

2023-11-07T17:49:55+00:0031 October 2023|

Marx, Keynes and the future of working time

This paper re-examines the different visions of the future of working time offered by Marx and Keynes. While Marx and Keynes differed radically on some fundamental matters, they agreed that society would benefit from reducing work time. The idea of society using technology to curtail work hours was a central aspect of their respective visions of a better future. The paper compares Marx’s and Keynes’s visions. It also considers the fate of their visions as well as their relevance for modern debates on the future of work. The conclusion is that a critical political economy can learn from the [...]

2023-11-13T10:44:05+00:0030 October 2023|

Technology and remuneration of working time: a study on paid and unpaid working time in platform work

In this article, we analyse platform-mediated work on the basis of the results of a qualitative study conducted in Argentina in the areas of delivery services and design. The guiding question of this research is how digital work processes change the relationship between paid and unpaid working times. To answer this question, we examine the remuneration system of two types of platforms, and we identify different forms of unpaid labour time in platform-mediated work. Two main conclusions arise from this analysis. On the one hand, we argue that platforms tend to legitimise some forms of unpaid labour time to [...]

2023-11-06T12:16:35+00:0022 October 2023|

What is the price of a skill? The value of complementarity

The global workforce is urged to constantly reskill, as technological change favours particular new skills while making others redundant. But which skills are a good investment for workers and firms? As skills are seldomly applied in isolation, we propose that complementarity strongly determines a skill's economic value. For 962 skills, we demonstrate that their value is determined by complementarity – that is, how many different skills, ideally of high value, a competency can be combined with. We show that the value of a skill is relative, as it depends on the skill background of the worker. For most skills, [...]

2023-11-21T13:29:07+00:0017 October 2023|

Leapfrog logistics: digital trucking platforms, infrastructure, and labor in Brazil and China

Critical political economy analyses have principally conceptualised platforms as unproductive economic forms (rentier capital) skimming value off each intermediated transaction and/or illegitimately extracting and capitalizing user data. This scholarship has also focused heavily on extractive dimensions of global North platforms’ operations within the global South. However, a small but growing literature is examining the productive aspects of digital platforms, while important digital platforms are emerging in Southern economies. These trends draw attention to the prospect of platforms playing a role in leapfrog development. This article examines digital trucking platforms in two major economies of the global South: Brazil and [...]

2023-10-25T11:02:01+01:0017 October 2023|
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