'No South Asian Riders, Please' : The Politics of Visibilisation in Platformed Food Delivery Work during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Hong Kong

Lisa Y. M. LEUNG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

Abstract

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the need for online food delivery services (such as Deliveroo and Foodpanda), creating new job opportunities for South Asian youths. However, outbreaks of infected cases in districts populated by South Asians have spurred ‘racist’ remarks by customers, perhaps triggered by a flurry of negative mainstream news reports and social media outbursts targeted at South Asians. These behaviours reveal the added precariousness of ethnic minority employment. This paper examines the inter-sectional politics of race and class involved in platformed work, in the case of food delivery services. It discusses how the algorithmically controlled platformed economy may have an impact on racial minority workers. Employing the conceptual framing of ‘invisibility’, and notions around ‘platformed/ gig labour’, it argues that neo-liberalised infrastructural capitalism aggravates algorithmic surveillance of racial minority workers. It suggests the possible resilience of racial minority workers in the globally popular business model.
Original languageEnglish
Article number089692052210914
Pages (from-to)1189-1203
Number of pages15
JournalCritical Sociology
Volume48
Issue number7-8
Early online date2 May 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This article is based on findings from a research funded by the Knowledge Transfer Fund 2021–22 (Reference no.: KT22A2, Funding Amount: $89,400. Project Title: ‘Precarities facing food delivery workers – A cross-ethnic evaluation of job security and satisfaction’).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • food delivery
  • platformed economy
  • gig labour
  • racial minorities
  • invisibility
  • social media
  • cultural studies

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