A Content and Discourse Analysis of California's Proposition 22: What it Means for the Future of the Gig Economy
For this thesis, I analyzed the discourse and content of Proposition 22, a California law which defined all workers utilizing gig-based apps to sell services as independent contractors meaning they were not legally entitled to certain protections such as minimum wage. The law was overturned in court in 2020, however, the advertisements in favor of and discourse behind the law has had a continued impact on all workers. Because of this it is important to examine and conceptualize the ideologies behind the law in order to understand how it was able to pass in a state which tends to vote in favor of increasing employee rights and regulation of industries. To do so, I utilized two methods of analysis, a discourse analysis of legal documents and a content analysis of advertisements. The former revolves around analyzing the discourse and ideologies around two versions of the legislation which were shown to the public, while the latter analysis categorizes and examines the implications of various advertisements utilized by companies to support the proposition. Ultimately, gig companies created an effective campaign that was able to repackage neoliberal deregulation for the general public while actively misrepresenting information around the law leading to long lasting effects that continue to harm workers while lining the pockets of investors despite its overturning.