Emerging Occupations in the Age of Digital Work: The Case of Social Media Influencers



New burgeoning occupations are emerging due to rapid advances in information technology and platform transformations. The prevalence of social media platforms has fostered the emergence of bloggers and influencers as well as escalated their dominance as obligatory passage points for doing business in the digital age of platform work. However, social media influencers have not yet an established occupational mandate for practicing; their task jurisdictions are not yet clearly demarcated; and claims of legitimacy are often contested by the industries, in which they perform. In addition, social media influencers do not have an educational degree and formalized title to signal membership; they possess no privileged access to technology or hold special technical skills as source of differentiation. As social media influencers are not able to claim occupational footing through traditional mandates such as education and technology, it may appear as a self-proclaimed occupation. Yet, social media influencers proliferate without enjoying the privilege and benefits of being a solidified occupation and profession. In this project we investigate how and why this is the case. The project is guided by the following research question:

How do social media influencers (SMIs) construct an occupational mandate and manage legitimacy across and between multiple conflicting stakeholders?

The project builds upon a qualitative ethnographic case study, in which we follow the work of social media influencers with particular focus on how they construct mandate and navigate legitimacy concerns. The project advances our understanding of how social media influencers work to become recognized and taken seriously for what they do. In doing so, the project contributes to literature on occupational emergence as well as to research on the future of work.
Effektiv start/slut dato01/02/2131/01/23


  • Uddannelse, professioner og erhverv