Date of Graduation

Fall 2023


Master of Arts in English



Committee Chair

Shannon Wooden


This thesis is an exploration of the phenomenon of the auto-exploitation of the modern individual through and in conjunction with the commodification of time. It explores the eruption of gig-work in recent decades in the United States, and the ways in which the modern individual is both consumer and product, buying and selling her own constructions of identity in order to gain time, fiscal currency and a sense of socioeconomic worth from herself and others. Using theoretical frameworks of Karl Marx, Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, Catherine Rottenberg and Byung-Chul Han, I explore the ways in which the modern individual is simultaneously auto-subjected and systemically subjected to both the exploitation and auto-construction of her identity. I explore this phenomenon through the lens of my own experiences as a modern individual existing in a feminine-coded body through creative writing, employing lyric essays and poetry to convey my experiences within a gig-saturated society.


auto-exploitation, consumerism, neoliberalism, commodification, time, identity, gig-economy, gig-society

Subject Categories

Creative Writing | Digital Humanities | E-Commerce | Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations | Nonfiction | Poetry


© Grace C. Willis Ms.

Open Access