George Maier

George Maier

PhD Researcher

Department of Media and Communications

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About me

Research topic

Title: Earning a Living in the Sharing Economy: Debt, Labour and Capital

George has a general research interest in inequalities. For his thesis his focus is on the sharing/gig economy in London. The current literature on digital inequality predominately focuses on producing normative ideas of economic and social outcomes that signify digital inclusion, such as achieving employment through technology. However, these fail to fully explain the relationships of power that inclusion in digital capitalism might maintain or create. By looking at Uber, AirBnB and Amazon Flex in London, George's research investigates how labour, debt and capital are put to work in emergent digital economies, often producing highly unequal outcomes. Beyond this, he aims to build an understanding of how this type of income seeking, often with a focus on debt, customer ratings, high velocity and visibility, impacts upon theories of subjectivity.

SupervisorsDr Ellen Helsper and Professor Bart Cammaerts


George completed an MA in Critical Theory and Political Science at the University of Nottingham in 2016 (Distinction), and has previously worked as the Director of Media and Communications for The Renewal Trust, a nationally recognised community regeneration trust working with local communities in Nottingham. He is currently a Leverhulme Trust Scholar, associated with the International Inequalities Institute at the LSE. This academic year (2018/19) he is teaching on the course Power, Inequality and Difference (SO110) in the department of sociology. He previously taught on the Introduction to Quantitative Methods course (MY451/551) in the 2017/18 academic year.

Expertise Details

Inequality; Digital; Capital; Power; Uber; AirBnB


Conference Talks

Maier, G (2019) ‘Labour, Capital and Debt: Theorising the Gig Economy‘ Presented at: European Sociological Association 2019, Manchester, United Kingdom

Maier, G (2019) ‘Who is valued? Symbolic Subject Value in the Sharing Economy‘ Prsented at: IAMCR 2019, Madrid, Spain 

Maier, G (2019) ‘Valued or devalued: Symbolic Subject Value in the Sharing Economy’ Presented at: Cultural Studies Association, New Orleans, The United States of America

Maier, G (2019) ‘Making a Living in the Sharing Economy: The Female AirBnB Hosts of London’ Presented at: ICA 2019, Washington DC, The United States of America

Maier, G (2019) ‘'Gay Capital’ and the Neoliberal Commodification of Gay Male Personhood’ Presented at: ICA 2019, Washington DC, The United States of America

Maier, G (2019) ‘The Female Host and Internal Inequalities Within London's AirBnB Host Community‘ Presented at: Gender and Working Lives, University of Cambridge 

Maier, G (2018) ‘Power, Class and Digital Markets: A Critique of Digital Inclusion’ Presented at: IAMCR 2018, Eugene, Oregon, The United States of America

Maier, G (2018) ‘Reconceptualising the Sharing Economy for Class Analysis’ Presented at: DigitalCapitalism2018, London, United Kingdom

Maier, G (2017) ‘Digital Inclusion: A Critique of Power and Inequality in The Social Construction of the Digital World’ Presented at: BRESTOLON, Lisbon, Portugal

Book Reviews

Maier, G (2018) ‘Grant Bollmer, Inhuman Networks: Social Media and the Archaeology of Connection’ International Journal of Communication 12(2018) pp. 3339–3342

Academic Blog

Livingstone, S; Ólafsson, K; Maier, G (2017) ‘If children don’t know an ad from information, how can they grasp how companies use their personal data?’ Media Policy Project Blog. Available here