School of Social and Political Science

Karen Gregory

Job Title

Senior Lecturer in Sociology

Karen Gregory's photo

Room number


Building (Address)

Chrystal Macmillan Building

Street (Address)

George Square

City (Address)


Country (Address)


Post code (Address)


Research interests

Research themes

Research interests

Digital Sociology, Digital Labor, Gender and Technology, Social media, ethnography, Mixed methods research in social sciences, Sharing Economy, Platform Society, Algorithmic Society, Supply chains and digital infrastructure

Current Research Projects

  • Understanding Risk Among On-Demand Food Couriers in Edinburgh

This project explores how on-demand couriers construct, represent, and negotiate work-related risks and draws from in-depth interviews with riders. Publications are available here: 

Gregory, K. and Sadowski, J. 2021. Biopolitical platforms: the perverse virtues of digital labour, Journal of Cultural Economy, DOI: 10.1080/17530350.2021.1901766

Gregory, K. 2020. “'My life is more valuable than this': Understanding Risk Among On-Demand Food Couriers in Edinburgh." Work, Employment and Society. Online First:

  • Worker Data Science: How can the GDPR and platform worker data be used to create leverage among gig workers?  

Our research project, which is funded by the Edinburgh Futures Institute, takes Deliveroo riders in Edinburgh as a case study, drawing sociology, computer science, and legal studies together to understand and answer gig worker concerns about data processing, automatic decision-making, and fair work. Our project formed the basis for the event "Digital Worker Inquiry" and was featured in Wired Magazine:

  • Visualising Hidden Platform Labour

This interdisciplinary project makes visible the unseen and invisible traces of on-demand courier work in Edinburgh. Our first publication, "Delivering Ediburgh: uncovering the digital geography of platform labour in the city" is now published at Information, Communication, and Society. Future work will explore the hidden labor of additional platforms, such as microwork platforms.

Current and Previous PhD Students

Joe Noteboom: The University of Data: Ethical and Social Future of Data-Driven Education

Isadora Dullaert: Hidden Hierarchies. How biometric technologies define our citizenship

Kath Bassett: Locative Media and Labour: Harry Potter Tourism in Edinburgh

Idil Galip: Art Worlds Online: Memes, Labour, and Politics

Topics interested in supervising

I am interested in supervising PhD students in the fields of: digital sociology, digital labor, studies of social media, work and technology, and affective and emotional labor studies.

If you are interested in being supervised by Karen Gregory, please see the link below (opens in new window) for more information:


I am a digital sociologist, ethnographer, and Programme Co-Director of the MSc in Digital Sociology. I currently co-lead the Digital Social Science Research Cluster at the Center for Data, Culture and Society at the University of Edinburgh. I am also an Associate Editor at the Journal of Cultural Economy.

Before coming to Edinburgh, I was a lecturer at The City College of New York, where I developed and ran The City Lab @ The Center for Worker Education.

Here is a list of upcoming talks:


Daniels, J., K. Gregory, and T. McMillan-Cottom. 2016. Digital Sociologies. Bristol: Policy Press.


Gregory, K. and Sadowski, J. 2021. Biopolitical platforms: the perverse virtues of digital labour, Journal of Cultural Economy, DOI: 10.1080/17530350.2021.1901766

Gregory, K. 2020. “'My life is more valuable than this': Understanding Risk Among On-Demand Food Couriers in Edinburgh." Work, Employment and Society. Online First:

Gregory, K. & Maldonado, Miguel Paredes. 2020. "Delivering Edinburgh: uncovering the digital geography of platform labour in the city." Information, Communication & Society. Vol 23 (8): 1187-1202. 10.1080/1369118X.2020.1748087

Gregory, K. 2018. "Pushed and Pulled to the Internet: Self-Employment in the Spiritual Marketplace." American Behavioral Scientist. Vol 62 (2) 208–224.

Gregory, K. and Singh, Sava Saheli. 2018. "Anger in Academic Twitter: Sharing, Caring, and Getting Mad Online." Triple C: Communication, Capitalism, and Critique. Vol 16 (1): 176-193.

Aronowitz, S. & Gregory, K. 2016. "Jobless Higher Ed: Revisited, An Interview with Stanley Aronowitz." Workplace, 28, 130-135.

Gregory, K. & Winn, J. 2016. Marx, Engels and the Critique of Academic Labor. Workplace, 28, 1-8.

Orton-Johnson, K., Prior, N. and Gregory, K. 2015. "Sociological Imagination: Digital Sociology and the Future of the Discipline." Special Section on Digital Sociology. The Sociological Review.‚Äã

Daniels, J., M. K. Gold, with members of the Inq13 Collective (K. Gregory et al.). 2014. “The Inq13 POOC: A Participatory Experiment in Open, Collaborative Teaching and Learning.” Journal of Interactive Pedagogy 5, online ed. (July 15, 2014).

Gregory, K. 2013. “The Teaching of Labor and the Labor of Teaching: Reflections on Publicness and Professionalism.” Journal of Interactive Pedagogy 3, online ed. (November 12, 2013).

Gregory, K. 2013. “Quality Is Our Recipe: Gaming the Lost Affect of Care.” Women and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory 23(4)

Gregory, K. 2012. “Negotiating Precarity: Tarot as Spiritual Entrepreneurialism.” Women’s Studies Quarterly 40(3/4). 

Gregory, K. 2011. "Tarot."Frequencies: An On-line Journal of the Social Science Research Council

Clough, P. and Gregory, K. 2010. “Playing and Praying to the Beat of a Child’s Metronome.” Subjectivity 3(4).

Book chapters

Gregory, K. 2022. "The Students are Already Gig Workers" in Data Justice and the Right to the City. University of Edinburgh Press. Open Access available here:

Brundage, L., Gregory, K., and Sherwood, E.  2018. "Working Nine to Five: What a Way to Make an Academic Living?" in Bodies of Information: Feminist Debates in the Digital Humanities. University of Minnesota Press.

Gregory, K. 2016. “In the Cards: From Hearing ‘Things’ to Human Capital.” In Object Oriented Feminisms, ed. Katherine Behar. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Gregory. K. 2016. "Can Tech Schools Go Cooperative?" In Ours to Hack and to Own, ed. Trebor Scholz and Nathan Schneider. New York: OR Books.

Clough, P., K. Gregory, B. Haber, and J. Scannell. 2015. “The Datalogical Turn.” In Nonrepresentational Methodologies: Re-Envisioning Research, ed. Phillip Vannini, 182–206. Oxford: Taylor & Francis.

"The Datalogical Turn" was reprinted and also appears in Clough, P. 2018. The User Unconscious. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.


Gregory, K. 2018. "Speak on Command: A review of Language Put to Work: The Making of the Global Call Centre Workforce.New Labor Forum.

Gregory, K. 2017. "Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy." Journal of Cultural Economy. 10(6): 552-555.

Gregory, K. 2015. "Grounding Discussions of the Digital." Journal of Interactive Pedagogy 6, online ed. (March 5, 2015)‚Äã

Encyclopaedia entries

Gregory, K. 2017. “Digital Labor.” In Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology, 2nd ed. Ed. George Ritzer. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Recorded talks

Gregory, K. 2018. "The Future of Work." Public Services International Congress. Geneva, Switzerland.

Gregory, K. 2017. "The Labor of Digital Scholarship." Talk given at the University of Edinburgh. Audio and Slides available:

Gregory, K. 2016. "Digital Labour and Exploitation: It's not a Done Deal." Oxford Internet Institute.

Gregory, K., Singh, S.S., and McMillan Cottom, T. 2015. "New Topics in Social Computing: Data and Education":

Solicited publications and press

What To Do if Your Boss is an Algorithm, BBC Ideas, April 2019:

Interviewed for "Love, Life, and Algorithms", BBC Radio Scotland, February 2019

Quoted in "Trade Unions and Academics Seek Ways to Adapt to Modern Economy",  Evening Express, February 2019:

Interviewed for: "This "Creepy" Time-Tracking Software Is Like Having Your Boss Watch You Every Second." August 7, 2018

Cited in: "How the left must respond to the real automation crisis." The Herald Scotland. July 3, 2018

Sadowski, J. and Gregory, K. 2017. "Amazon is running its own hunger games – and all the players will be losers." The Guardian.

Gregory, K. and Hendry, K., Watts, J., Young, D. 2017. "Selfwork." Real Life.

Gregory, K. 2016. "Brexit and the Stateless: Digital Citizenship in an Era of Instability." Bella Caledonia.

Gregory, K. 2015. "Media Matters." The New Inquiry.

Sadowski, J. and Gregory, K. 2015. "Is Uber's Ultimate Goal the Privatization of City Governance?" The Guardian.

Gregory, K. 2015. "Good Wives: Algorithmic Architectures as Metabolization" Boundary 2.

Gregory, K. 2015. “Weird Solidarities.” Dis Magazine.

Gregory, K. 2015. “Serios Matters: The Thoughtographic Photography of Ted Serios.”

Gregory, K. 2014. “The Public Is Political.” New Criticals.

Gregory, K. 2013. “Magical Surpluses.” The New Inquiry.

Gregory, K. 2012. “Geographies of Intimacy.” The State

Gregory, K. 2012. “Mediums of Exchange.” The New Inquiry.

For more web-based writing, please see: Digital Labor Working Group, which I co-founded in 2014.

Featured in Ed Reform:
Anya Kamenitz. 2015. “Ten Indispensible Women Transforming Education.”

Interviewed for Buzzfeeed Tech story:
Caroline O’Donovan. 2015. “What if You Could Crowdsource a Loan?”

Quoted in NPR’s 2015 Education Predictions:

Interviewed for New York Times story: Altman, Anna. 2014. “Paying For Quality Education.”

Interviewed for Washington Post< story: Dewey, Caitlin. 2014. “The Many Problems with SketchFactor, the New Crowdsourcing App That Many Are Calling Racist.”

Interviewed for Guernica Magazine story: Reider, Rachel. 2014. “The Teaching Class”

Works within

Publications by user content

Publication Research Explorer link
Gregory K. “My life is more valuable than this”: Understanding risk among on-demand food couriers in Edinburgh. Work, Employment And Society. 2020 Dec 7;N/A:1-16.
Gregory K, Paredes Maldonado M. Delivering Edinburgh: Uncovering the digital geography of platform labour in the city. Information, Communication and Society. 2020 Jul 13;23(8):1187-1202.
Brundage L, Gregory K, Sherwood E. Working nine to five: What a way to make an academic living? In Losh E, Wernimont J, editors, Bodies of Information: Intersectional Feminism and Digital Humanities. Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press. 2019. p. 305-319. (Debates in the Digital Humanities).
Gregory K. Pushed and pulled to the Internet: Self employment in the spiritual marketplace. American Behavioral Scientist. 2019 Feb 1;63(2):208-224.
Gregory K. Speak on Command: Language Put to Work: The Making of the Global Call Centre Workforce By Enda Brophy Palgrave Macmillan, 2017 ISBN: 978-1-349-952244-1. New Labor Forum. 2018 May 1;27(2):112-115.
Gregory K, Saheli Singh S. Anger in academic Twitter: Sharing, caring, and getting mad online. tripleC: Communication, Capitalism and Critique. 2018 Jan 26;16(1):176-193.
Gregory K. Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy. Journal of Cultural Economy. 2017 Oct 16;10(6):552-555.
Gregory K. Digital labor. In Ritzer G, editor, The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology. Wiley-Blackwell. 2017
Gregory K. Can tech schools go cooperative? In Scholz T, Schneider N, editors, Ours to Hack and to Own. New York: OR Books. 2017. p. 196-199
Gregory K. Structure and agency in a digital world. In Daniels J, Gregory K, McMillan Cottom T, editors, Digital Sociologies. Policy Press. 2016. p. 3-7
Daniels J, (ed.), Gregory K, (ed.), McMillan Cottom T, (ed.). Digital Sociologies. Policy Press, 2016. 528 p.
Gregory K. In the cards: From hearing “things” to human capital. In Behar K, editor, Object-Oriented Feminism. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. 2016. p. 225-244
Gregory K, (ed.), Winn J, (ed.). Marx, Engels and the Critique of Academic Labor: Special Issue Edited by Karen Gregory & Joss Winn. Workplace: The Journal for Academic Labor. 2016 Sep 30;28:1-135.
Gregory K, Winn J. Marx, Engels and the critique of academic labor. Workplace: The Journal for Academic Labor. 2016 Sep 16;28:1-8.
Gregory K. Jobless higher ed: Revisited, an interview with Stanley Aronowitz. Workplace: The Journal for Academic Labor. 2016 Sep 16;28:130-135.
Gregory K, Clough P, Scannell J, Haber B. The datalogical turn . In Vannini P, editor, Non-Representational Methodologies: Re-Envisioning Research . 1 ed. Routledge. 2015. p. 146-164. Chapter 9. (Routledge Advances in Research Methods).
Daniels J, Gold MK, Anderson SM, Boy J, Cahill C, Gieseking JJ et al. The Inq13 POOC: A Participatory Experiment in Open, Collaborative Teaching and Learning. Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy. 2014 Jun 9;(5).
Gregory K. The teaching of labor and the labor of teaching: Reflections on publicness and professionalism. Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy. 2013 Nov 2.
Gregory K. Negotiating precarity: Tarot as spiritual entrepreneurialism. Women's Studies Quarterly. 2012;40(3/4):264-280.