What are you looking for?

A good hustle

A good hustle

the moral economy of market competition in adult webcam modeling


In this article, we examine how models working on Chaturbate, one of the world’s most popular adult webcam platforms, negotiate and make sense of the dynamic ways in which this platform configures their competitive environment. By combining different perspectives from the field of economic sociology, we demonstrate how competition on Chaturbate is shaped by various market devices whose strategic negotiation informs – and is informed by – the moral economy articulated on web forums where models gather to discuss their work experiences and market strategies. We first introduce Chaturbate and the ways in which it organizes market competition, surveying the environment models have to negotiate. We then zoom in on two controversial strategies for beating the competition, each of which upset the moral economy of Chaturbate’s model community. Subsequently, we turn to what models term ‘the hustle,’ which encompasses a number of competitive strategies and criteria judged to be fair and thus legitimate. The final part of our analysis considers the limitations of the hustle, as well as the meritocratic and entrepreneurial discourse that surround it, in light of what we identify as Chaturbate’s ‘manufactured uncertainty.’

Available as open access publication