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Crossing the algorithmic 'Red Sea': Brazilian ubertubers' ways of knowing surge pricing

Guerra, Abel and D’andréa, Carlos (2022) Crossing the algorithmic 'Red Sea': Brazilian ubertubers' ways of knowing surge pricing. Information, Communication & Society. 1 - 19. ISSN 1369-118X

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Identification Number: 10.1080/1369118X.2022.2109979


This article discusses how Brazilian ubertubers–Uber drivers that manage YouTube channels focused on their riding experience–systematise and make public different ways of knowing surge pricing (SP), an algorithmic-oriented system that uses price adjustments to redistribute drivers across urban space. Taken by the Uber as an instrument to measure and regulate market conditions, SP mediates drivers’ pragmatic and affective daily practices, materialising a asymmetrical power relation embedded into a neoliberal governmentality. The study explores 25 videos produced and shared by five consolidated Brazilian ubertubers, focusing on how this specific kind of digital influencer systematises and perform collective knowledge on how to increase earnings with surge pricing. The metaphors, hypotheses, and theories, the ubertuber’s tactics to deal with SP’s instability and with the risks of working on peripheral areas, and the efforts to investigate the logics of a ‘new surge’ are the main issues approached in the case study. In the conclusions, we discuss how ubertubers’ ambivalent relations with surge pricing reveal their wider attempts to navigate neoliberal governmentality and precarious conditions.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2022 The Authors
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: H Social Sciences
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA76 Computer software
Date Deposited: 17 Aug 2022 12:18
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2024 01:39

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