International Journal of Communication 
Publishes a Special Section on Venture Labor


Do workers now see taking big risks as the only way to get ahead?

What is the impact of the high-stakes technology startup culture on the rest of the U.S. economy?

What lessons do the trends in media and communication jobs teach us about the future of work?


Edited by Laura Robinson, Gina Neff, and Jeremy Schulz, this Special Section on Venture Labor begins to answer these and other timely questions about work and workers today.

A broad-ranging group of international scholars explores the concept of venture labor from multiple perspectives. Venture labor is the explicit expression of entrepreneurial values by non-entrepreneurs. As contributors argue, venture labor leads to the normalization of risk-taking in work, even when the odds are long and the winners are few. Nonetheless, a spirit of risk-taking, once seen as restricted to technology start-ups, now attracts workers across many industries willing to forgo the benefits and safety nets of traditional employment in exchange for new risks and opportunities.

Venture labor contributes to the shift of risk away from the social collectivity to the individual. This collection of essays covers venture labor phenomena including self-branding, social media professional marketing, entrepreneurial journalism, anytime-anywhere work, entrepreneurial self-actualization, crowdsourcing, and labor on ‘spec’ and other unpaid labor are all part of the venture labor trend covered in.

The Special Section brings together voices from multiple social science perspectives including communication, sociology, and media studies, with contributions from Laura Robinson, Jeremy Schulz, Alice E. Marwick, Nicole S. Cohen, C.W. Anderson, Michelle Rodino-Colocino, Enda Brophy, Gina Neff, Paul Hirsch, Sarah Banet-Weiser, Ofer Sharone, Barry Wellman, Dimitrina Dimitrova, Tsahi Hayat, Guang Ying Mo, Beverly Wellman, and Antonio Casilli. Together, these contributors grapple with the power of contradictory forces remaking the workplaces of the 21st century.

We invite you to read these 14 essays that published in the International Journal of Communication on May 10, 2017 at

Larry Gross

Arlene Luck
Managing Editor

Laura Robinson, Gina Neff, Jeremy Schulz
Guest Editors