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Beyond the WageOrdinary Work in Diverse Economies$
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William Monteith, Dora-Olivia Vicol, and Philippa Williams

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781529208931

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781529208931.001.0001

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Going Gojek, or Staying Ojek? Competing Visions of Work and Economy in Jakarta’s Motorbike Taxi Industry

Going Gojek, or Staying Ojek? Competing Visions of Work and Economy in Jakarta’s Motorbike Taxi Industry

Chapter:
(p.211) 9 Going Gojek, or Staying Ojek? Competing Visions of Work and Economy in Jakarta’s Motorbike Taxi Industry
Source:
Beyond the Wage
Author(s):

Mechthild von Vacano

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781529208931.003.0010

Until recently Indonesia’s motorbike taxi industry resembled a textbook example of the ‘informal sector’—a well-established though legally unrecognised mode of urban transport. However, the arrival of Gojek, a digital ride-hailing platform, in 2016 appeared set to revolutionize the industry with the full force of platform capitalism. The platform’s business model challenged the territorial-distributive principles of the established system of local taxi ranks, while creating a new group of digital drivers which were legally self-employed, though de facto dependent on the algorithmic programming of the platform. Through a comparative case study of conventional (ojek) and platform based (Gojek) taxi drivers in Jakarta, this chapter study points to the structural and economic diversity of work outside the wage. Informed by a deconstructive reading of the in/formality paradigm, it expands the analytical focus from the structural conditions of work to the underlying modes of social and economic organisation, and the often subtle values these modes enact.

Keywords:   Informal sector, Platform economy, Digital labour, Informal transport, Economic rationalities, Anthropology of work, Motorcycle taxis, Jakarta, Indonesia, Ethnography

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