Coworking Spaces in the Global South: Local Articulations and Imaginaries

by Jeremy Tintiangko & Cheryll Ruth Soriano , , , ,

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Abstract in English:

Building on scholarly explorations of the nuances of labor conditions in emerging knowledge economies in the Global South and the glocalization of the digital labor market, this paper examines how coworking spaces in the Philippines are designed and organized. In particular, we explore the role that these alternative workspaces take in addressing the unique needs of local digital platform workers or online freelancers. The Philippines ranks third, after the United States and India, among the countries with the greatest number of online freelancers. Drawing from a multi-sited ethnography of coworking spaces in Metro Manila, including interviews with coworking space managers as well as Filipino online freelancers, the paper explores how the latter perceive the role and experience the value of coworking spaces. Echoing Oreglia and Ling’s notion of “digital imagination,” we find that digital workers sustain a unique sense of “aspirational belonging” to coworking spaces which we describe as a state of willingness to maintain a positive perception of these spaces without any certainty of realizing their promised benefits. We also argue that the very same qualities that render coworking spaces aspirational for online Filipino freelancers function to regulate a degree of in/exclusivity of urban spaces.

Open Access? Yes

Journal Journal of Urban Technology
Publication Year 2020

Publisher Taylor & Francise