Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/228538
Title: “AT LEAST IT'S AN HONEST JOB": AN ETHNOGRAPHY OF DIGNITY CONSTRUCTION BY FOOD DELIVERY RIDERS
Authors: ONG EN CHER, RAYMOND
Issue Date: 10-Apr-2022
Citation: ONG EN CHER, RAYMOND (2022-04-10). “AT LEAST IT'S AN HONEST JOB": AN ETHNOGRAPHY OF DIGNITY CONSTRUCTION BY FOOD DELIVERY RIDERS. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: This thesis is an ethnography of food delivery as a form of gig work in Singapore. Examining the everyday realities of food delivery riders, this ethnography seeks to understand how they experience precarity in their work, and consequently, the ways that they contend with this precarity to construct dignity for themselves. By working as a Grab rider myself in the Jurong East neighbourhood for three months, this provided me access to the everyday work stories that riders felt comfortable sharing with a fellow rider. Firstly, this ethnography establishes that riders experience precarity of income, employment and safety within food delivery where Grab uses its algorithm to conditions riders to serve the platform’s capitalist interests, disguised as their own. Secondly, asymmetrical power relations between riders and the social actors that they encounter throughout the delivery process allows the latter to hinder the work of riders, and complicate its practices by calling upon riders to additionally perform emotional labour. Taken together, the precarity of food delivery and its disparaging social relations engender feelings of frustration, helplessness and worthlessness for riders. To negotiate this, riders perform what Lamont (2000) terms as ‘boundary’ work where they construct hard work, professionalism, self-sufficiency and altruism as moral values which they then draw upon to distinguish themselves as ‘good’ and worthy workers. vis-à-vis those perceivably lacking in these qualities. At the heart of it, ‘boundary work’ agentively empowers riders to not only dignify themselves, but also justify their decisions to remain in this precarious work.
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/228538
Appears in Collections:Bachelor's Theses

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