Susanne Pernicka, Hannah Johnston

The contested constitution of platform work in passenger transportation: Why landscapes and power matter

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Economic landscapes, New York City, passenger transportation, plat- form work, social fields, Vienna

The paper addresses workers’ collective responses to digital platforms in passenger transportation. Sociological and geographic conceptions are used to emphasise that power configurations and actors’ subjective dispositions matter in explaining different urban landscapes of platform work. A comparison of New York City (NYC) and Vienna shows that the divergence of outcomes hinges on the state and position of employment relations fields within wider fields of power, and on the dispositions of organised labour actors. In NYC, taxi drivers have successfully been able to alter the economic landscape responding in an inclusive manner to new market entrants and incorporating them into existing collective organisations. Vienna’s passenger transportation landscape was largely reconfigured by legislative reforms that brought platforms and for hire-car companies under the same rules as taxis, pointing to the persistent entrenchment of workers’ organisations in corporatist employment relations fields.

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