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dc.contributor.authorOppegaard, Sigurd Martin Nordli
dc.date.accessioned2019-02-07T23:00:57Z
dc.date.available2019-02-07T23:00:57Z
dc.date.issued2018
dc.identifier.citationOppegaard, Sigurd Martin Nordli. The Strains of Luxury. Labor in the Platform Economy. The Case of Uber Black in Oslo. Master thesis, University of Oslo, 2018
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10852/66486
dc.description.abstractThe so-called sharing economy is often framed as an adept system for taking advantage of underutilized assets and, through digital technology, establishing a community of strangers trusting, interacting and exchanging with each other. In this thesis, I explore one of the companies often associated with the sharing economy, Uber, investigating the work arrangements and working conditions of the people selling their labor power through the platform. Despite having to “pause” Uber Pop in late October 2017, Uber was able to continue to provide passengers transportation through Uber Black, Uber XXL and Uber Lux in Oslo. Based on observation of and interviews with 20 Uber Black drivers as well as an analysis of selected documents, I explore the following research questions: 1) How did Uber adjust its business model to the regulations of the Norwegian transportations sector? 2) How is the Uber Black drivers’ labor organized? 3) How can the case of Uber Black in Oslo be understood as illustrating tendencies and tensions in the process of implementing information and communications technology (ICT) in the economy and work arrangements? My analysis is theoretically informed by Carlota Perez and the local research frontier on the platform economy, as well as a dialogue with Karl Polanyi and Gilles Deleuze. Uber legalized its Norway operations by using limousine companies as intermediaries. These limousine companies own cars licensed for serving the luxury segment of the Norwegian passenger transportation sector and hire the drivers. Of the 20 drivers I have met, all have been male and all but two immigrants or the children of immigrants, most of whom having struggled to find stable and decent employment before becoming Uber drivers. The drivers usually get access to a car 12 hours six days per week, within which they themselves determine how much they want to work. Most drivers are paid on commission, but some receive a fixed hourly wage. Because of the general lack of customers in the Uber Black market in Oslo, this work arrangement is translated into long shifts and relatively low wages for the commission-paid drivers. Furthermore, I investigate how Uber employs the platform model to coordinate its market. By endowing the drivers with the freedom to choose their own hours, Uber simultaneously has to initiate measures for making the drivers supply their labor when and where they are needed. This problem is solved through the algorithmic management immanent in the platform model, comprising of three techniques: algorithmic task assignment, dynamic pricing and bilateral ratings. The work arrangement of Uber Black in Oslo transfers the risk of demand-side shock to the workers and creates unpredictable and opaque working conditions. I argue that Uber’s platform is not a mere technology and a neutral marketplace, but should rather be conceived as a privately owned market regulation – parallel to and competing with government regulations – and a form of control continuously adapting to fluctuation in the market, as well as an organizational principle embodying the logic of the age of information and communications technology.eng
dc.language.isoeng
dc.subjectUber
dc.subjectplatform economy
dc.subjectethnography
dc.subjectlabor
dc.titleThe Strains of Luxury. Labor in the Platform Economy. The Case of Uber Black in Osloeng
dc.typeMaster thesis
dc.date.updated2019-02-07T23:00:57Z
dc.creator.authorOppegaard, Sigurd Martin Nordli
dc.identifier.urnURN:NBN:no-69688
dc.type.documentMasteroppgave
dc.identifier.fulltextFulltext https://www.duo.uio.no/bitstream/handle/10852/66486/1/Oppegaard-2018-The-Strains-of-Luxury-Master-s-Thesis.pdf


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