IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ehl/lserod/115538.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Racial platform capitalism: empire, migration and the making of Uber in London

Author

Listed:
  • Gebrial, Dalia

Abstract

The critical platform studies literature has built a compelling picture of how techniques like worker (mis)classification, algorithmic management and workforce atomisation lie at the heart of how ‘work on-demand via apps’ actively restructure labour. Much of this emerging scholarship identifies that platform workforces are predominantly comprised of migrant and racially minoritised workers. However, few studies theorise migration and race as structuring logics of the platform model and the precarity it engenders. This paper addresses this gap by exploring how the platform economy – specifically work on-demand via apps – both shapes and is shaped by historically contingent contexts of racialisation, and their constitutive processes such as embodiment and immigration policy/rhetoric. Beyond identifying the over-representation of racial minorities in the platform economy, it argues that processes of racialisation have been crucial at every stage of the platform economy's rise to dominance, and therefore constitutes a key organising principle of platform capitalism – hence the term ‘racial platform capitalism’. In doing so, this paper draws on the racial capitalism literature, to situate key platform techniques such as worker (mis)classification and algorithmic management as forms of racial practice, deployed to (re-)organise surplus urban labour-power following the 2008 financial crisis. This framework will be explored through an ethnographic study of Uber's rise in London. Through this, the paper demonstrates a co-constitutive relationship, where the conditions of minoritised workers in a global city like London post-2008, and the political economy of platform companies can be said to have co-produced one another.

Suggested Citation

  • Gebrial, Dalia, 2022. "Racial platform capitalism: empire, migration and the making of Uber in London," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 115538, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:115538
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/115538/
    File Function: Open access version.
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Lisa Tilley & Robbie Shilliam, 2018. "Raced Markets: An Introduction," New Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(5), pages 534-543, September.
    2. Diamond Ashiagbor, 2021. "Race and Colonialism in the Construction of Labour Markets and Precarity," Industrial Law Journal, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(4), pages 506-531.
    3. John Stehlin & Michael Hodson & Andrew McMeekin, 2020. "Platform mobilities and the production of urban space: Toward a typology of platformization trajectories," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 52(7), pages 1250-1268, October.
    4. Alex Bryson & Michael White, 2019. "Migrants and Low-Paid Employment in British Workplaces," Work, Employment & Society, British Sociological Association, vol. 33(5), pages 759-776, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Leone Leonida & Marianna Marra & Sergio Scicchitano & Antonio Giangreco & Marco Biagetti, 2020. "Estimating the Wage Premium to Supervision for Middle Managers in Different Contexts: Evidence from Germany and the UK," Work, Employment & Society, British Sociological Association, vol. 34(6), pages 1004-1026, December.
    2. Andreas Bieler & Adam David Morton, 2021. "Is capitalism structurally indifferent to gender?: Routes to a value theory of reproductive labour ," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 53(7), pages 1749-1769, October.
    3. Palmyra Repette & Jamile Sabatini-Marques & Tan Yigitcanlar & Denilson Sell & Eduardo Costa, 2021. "The Evolution of City-as-a-Platform: Smart Urban Development Governance with Collective Knowledge-Based Platform Urbanism," Land, MDPI, vol. 10(1), pages 1-25, January.
    4. Ari-Veikko Anttiroiko, 2021. "Digital Urban Planning Platforms: The Interplay of Digital and Local Embeddedness in Urban Planning," International Journal of E-Planning Research (IJEPR), IGI Global, vol. 10(3), pages 35-49, July.
    5. Rojanakit, Patcharapar & Torres de Oliveira, Rui & Dulleck, Uwe, 2022. "The sharing economy: A critical review and research agenda," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 139(C), pages 1317-1334.
    6. Goodwin, Geoff, 2022. "Double movements and disembedded economies: a response to Richard Sandbrook," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 113686, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    7. Anna Baranowska-Rataj & Zoltán Elekes & Rikard Eriksson, 2021. "Escaping from Low-Wage Employment: The Role of Co-worker Networks," CERS-IE WORKING PAPERS 2123, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies.
    8. Alessandra Mezzadri, 2022. "The Social Reproduction of Pandemic Surplus Populations and Global Development Narratives on Inequality and Informal Labour," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 53(6), pages 1230-1253, November.
    9. Igor Calzada, 2020. "Platform and Data Co-Operatives amidst European Pandemic Citizenship," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(20), pages 1-22, October.
    10. Perry, Keston K., 2020. "The New ‘Bond-age’, Climate Crisis and the Case for Climate Reparations: Unpicking Old/New Colonialities of Finance for Development within the SDGs," SocArXiv h9s2z, Center for Open Science.
    11. Soltani, Ali & Allan, Andrew & Khalaj, Fahimeh & Pojani, Dorina & Mehdizadeh, Milad, 2021. "Ridesharing in Adelaide: Segmentation of users," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 92(C).
    12. Spinney, Justin & Lin, Wen-I, 2021. "A vehicle for valorising the labour power of commuting: The politics of mobility fixing in Shanghai's Dockless Public Bike Sharing Sector," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 94(C).
    13. Geoff Goodwin, 2022. "Double Movements and Disembedded Economies: A Response to Richard Sandbrook," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 53(3), pages 676-702, May.
    14. Heiner FECHNER, 2022. "Legal segmentation and early colonialism in sub‐Saharan Africa: Informality and the colonial exploitative legal employment standard," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 161(4), pages 615-634, December.
    15. Ali Bhagat & Leanne Roderick, 2020. "Banking on refugees: Racialized expropriation in the fintech era," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 52(8), pages 1498-1515, November.
    16. Alvarez León, Luis F. & Aoyama, Yuko, 2022. "Industry emergence and market capture: The rise of autonomous vehicles," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 180(C).
    17. Rachel G McKane & David J Hess, 2022. "Ridesourcing and urban inequality in Chicago: Connecting mobility disparities to unequal development, gentrification, and displacement," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 54(3), pages 572-592, May.
    18. Mike Hodson & Andrew McMeekin, 2021. "Global technology companies and the politics of urban socio-technical imaginaries in the digital age: Processual proxies, Trojan horses and global beachheads," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 53(6), pages 1391-1411, September.
    19. Koglin, Till & Mukhtar-Landgren, Dalia, 2021. "Contested values in bike-sharing mobilities – A case study from Sweden," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 92(C).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Racial capitalism; migration; platform labour; precarity; urbanism; Sage deal;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • R14 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Land Use Patterns
    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:115538. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: LSERO Manager (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/lsepsuk.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.