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Roadies: an Ethnography of Digitalisation of Inequalities and Precarisation in Food Couriers (2021-2022)


Publication: 10.58367/NECY.ODO.2022.1
Field of study: Anthropology

Food couriers working the evening and nighttime shifts are a special case of platform-mediated work, and an under-researched category of contracted workers in the digitalised platform economy. Drawing on a night ethnography, the paper focuses on the strategic role that migrant and non-migrant gig workers play in supporting communities in four cities: Bucharest and Oradea in Romania, and Cork in Ireland. London, the fourth locality, is the “glocturnal” city in Europe, with a long history of immigration and an exceptional status due to its high demand for migrant workers 24/7. This ethnographic account aims to impact the emerging field in the digitalisation of labour migration and contribute to debates on digitalisation of inequalities and precarisation of nightworkers.

Keywords: platform work, food couriers, night ethnography, inequalities, precarisation, Europe

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