Friday, September 23, 2016

Wheels in the Head: "Ridesharing" as Monitored Performance

My new article in Surveillance & Society has finally been published; it can be read or downloaded for free here:

Abstract: For-profit “ridesharing” services (or soft cabs) offer on-demand rides much like taxicabs, but are distinguished by an affective framing which emphasizes that drivers are “friends with cars, on demand” rather than “cabdrivers.” This reframing is achieved through the insertion of smartphones as social interfaces between drivers and passengers, restructuring social interaction through an allegorithm (the productive co-deployment of a socially relevant allegorical script and a software-mediated algorithm). Much of the affective labor of these drivers consists in maintaining this affective framing and internalizing the logic by which their performances are monitored through the work platform. In this article the writings and videos of three soft-cab drivers will be drawn on to illustrate the ways drivers develop and evaluate their own performances as “ridesharing.”

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