In Cisio Scribere: Labor, Knowledge, and Politics of Cabdriving in Mexico City and San Francisco

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/556879
Title:
In Cisio Scribere: Labor, Knowledge, and Politics of Cabdriving in Mexico City and San Francisco
Author:
Anderson, Donald Nathan
Issue Date:
2015
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
This dissertation investigates cabdriving as a form of spatial work, involved in the production and reproduction of social space through three interrelated products: physical movement from place to place; the experience of movement, of connection made between places; and the articulation of these places, movements, and experiences with visions of society and the social. The particular forms of knowledge involved in this work, and the politics in which taxicabs are entangled, are explored through fieldwork conducted in two very different cities: Mexico City and San Francisco, California. The political context of cabdriving knowledge changes as new technologies are introduced into the cab to reframe the relationship between the interior of the cab (where passengers and drivers interact) and the exteriors (urban and informational spaces) through which it passes. In Mexico City, interviews with libre, base, and sitio cabdrivers about their knowledge and work strategies revealed three aspects of cabdriving as a rhythm analytical practice: 1) the points of confluence, i.e., the spatial pattern or method by which drivers link up with passengers; 2) the temporal and monetary patterns of constraint the occupation puts on drivers; and 3) the sense of the city which emerges, as this is described by drivers. Each form of taxicab has different patterns of movement, and different spatial and technological means of establishing contact with customers, which results in differing experiences and strategies elaborated by drivers. In San Francisco, interviews were conducted with taxi, limousine, and "ridesharing" drivers on the impact of smartphone-enabled "e-hailing" technology. The term allegorithm (the productive co-deployment of a socially relevant allegorical script and a software-mediated algorithm) is borrowed from gaming studies to describe how interfaces reframe the cab-riding experience. Of particular interest is the emergence of "ridesharing," or the overcab (a cab-riding experience which is superior to the experience of riding in a cab). The effectiveness of the overcab’s reframing project depends on the acceptance and performance by participants of the "overcab" narrative. There are indications that the transcendence of the overcab is fragile, and that cracks are developing in the experiences of both drivers and passengers, due to continuing tensions which the overcab has failed to resolve, or which have been introduced as part of its regulating mechanism.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
Mexico City; ridesharing; San Francisco; splintering urbanism; taxicabs; Anthropology; affective labor
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; Anthropology
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Alonso, Ana M.

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoen_USen
dc.titleIn Cisio Scribere: Labor, Knowledge, and Politics of Cabdriving in Mexico City and San Franciscoen_US
dc.creatorAnderson, Donald Nathanen
dc.contributor.authorAnderson, Donald Nathanen
dc.date.issued2015en
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation investigates cabdriving as a form of spatial work, involved in the production and reproduction of social space through three interrelated products: physical movement from place to place; the experience of movement, of connection made between places; and the articulation of these places, movements, and experiences with visions of society and the social. The particular forms of knowledge involved in this work, and the politics in which taxicabs are entangled, are explored through fieldwork conducted in two very different cities: Mexico City and San Francisco, California. The political context of cabdriving knowledge changes as new technologies are introduced into the cab to reframe the relationship between the interior of the cab (where passengers and drivers interact) and the exteriors (urban and informational spaces) through which it passes. In Mexico City, interviews with libre, base, and sitio cabdrivers about their knowledge and work strategies revealed three aspects of cabdriving as a rhythm analytical practice: 1) the points of confluence, i.e., the spatial pattern or method by which drivers link up with passengers; 2) the temporal and monetary patterns of constraint the occupation puts on drivers; and 3) the sense of the city which emerges, as this is described by drivers. Each form of taxicab has different patterns of movement, and different spatial and technological means of establishing contact with customers, which results in differing experiences and strategies elaborated by drivers. In San Francisco, interviews were conducted with taxi, limousine, and "ridesharing" drivers on the impact of smartphone-enabled "e-hailing" technology. The term allegorithm (the productive co-deployment of a socially relevant allegorical script and a software-mediated algorithm) is borrowed from gaming studies to describe how interfaces reframe the cab-riding experience. Of particular interest is the emergence of "ridesharing," or the overcab (a cab-riding experience which is superior to the experience of riding in a cab). The effectiveness of the overcab’s reframing project depends on the acceptance and performance by participants of the "overcab" narrative. There are indications that the transcendence of the overcab is fragile, and that cracks are developing in the experiences of both drivers and passengers, due to continuing tensions which the overcab has failed to resolve, or which have been introduced as part of its regulating mechanism.en
dc.typetexten
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen
dc.subjectMexico Cityen
dc.subjectridesharingen
dc.subjectSan Franciscoen
dc.subjectsplintering urbanismen
dc.subjecttaxicabsen
dc.subjectAnthropologyen
dc.subjectaffective laboren
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen
thesis.degree.disciplineAnthropologyen
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen
dc.contributor.advisorAlonso, Ana M.en
dc.contributor.committeememberAlonso, Ana M.en
dc.contributor.committeememberGreenberg, James B.en
dc.contributor.committeememberMarston, Sallie A.en
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