Professor Brent Malin and graduate student Curry Chandler publish article in Communication, Culture, and Critique
An essay by Brent Malin, an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Pittsburgh, and Curry Chandler, a graduate student in the same department, appears in the June 2017 issue of Communication, Culture, and Critique. The essay, “Free to Work Anxiously: Splintering Precarity among Drivers for Uber and Lyft,” draws on interviews with Pittsburgh-based Uber and Lift drivers that Malin and Chandler conducted from 2014-2015, as these companies were beginning their ride-sharing services in the Pittsburgh area. Malin and Curry explore how these drivers understand their shared role in this relatively new digital labor market, both in terms of their views of the digital technologies through which their labor is summoned, monitored, and monetized and in terms of their experiences as vital pieces in a particular communication and transportation infrastructure. For the majority of these drivers, working for Uber or Lyft provides a highly circumscribed sense of “flexibility” that includes the “freedom” to drive in ways that reward a range of risky activities—such as navigating the late-night streets of the Pittsburgh bar scene.