Centre for Internet & Society

Aayush Rathi and Ambika Tandon authored a chapter that describes platforms as more than technological interfaces. The chapter invokes some of the metaphors that gig workers use to make sense of platforms. This chapter was part of an edited volume published by Springer. This chapter forms part of the ‘Labour Futures’ research project, hosted at the Centre for Internet and Society, India, and supported by the Internet Society Foundation.

Various disciplines have produced literature on digital platforms—broadly categorised as technological interfaces enabling the exchange of goods and services — with little consensus on what platforms are and how they impact economic and labour systems. Features that are commonly associated with platforms include their role in increasing efficiency in supply chains, their deployment of cutting-edge technology, and their ability to ‘disrupt’ existing modes of provision of services and goods (Jarrahi & Sutherland, 2019). The use of metaphors and carefully curated taxonomy has been crucial in cementing this idea of the digital platform as a technological layer objectively matching supply and demand (Gillespie, 2017). This chapter seeks to document and understand how workers experience different types of digital platforms, and how workers’ imaginaries of platforms differ from popular and academic conceptions.

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