PLATFORMISATION OF RIDE HAILING, FOOD DELIVERY AND DOMESTIC WORK SERVICES IN URBAN INDIA
Keywords:platform economy, care, reproductive labour, ride hailing, domestic work, food delivery, global south
Working in the digital platform economies has typically been characterised by a corporatised and media fuelled narrative of independence—as a route to financial independence, freedom to determine work schedules, and the positioning of workers as ‘independent contractors’. This terminology suggests a sense of novelty in the nature of jobs and the upending of hierarchies by technological processes. This panel aims at excavating the pre-existing power dynamics between customers, workers and intermediaries. Taxi driving, delivering food and providing domestic care services have long been informal forms of work segregated along lines of caste, religion, class and gender in urban India. What has the platformisation of this work meant for workers, their experiences of work and the opening up of this work? Has the involvement of technological intermediaries led to an opening up and the opening up of this work outside of its parochial considerations of class, caste, gender, religion? The panel is based on qualitative, ethnographic and participatory fieldwork across ride hailing, food delivery and domestic work platforms in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. Through 4 presentations, we bring forth the promise of working in the absence of a boss, the restrictions on independence and the functions of interdependence.