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HUMAN ⇄ GHOST : Food Delivery Drivers As Locals, Strangers, And Wanderers
⼈ ⇄ 幽灵:作为本地人,异乡人和游荡者的外卖员们

Earlier industrial transformation and the epidemic have made more and more people become gig workers.

I interviewed some food delivery drivers from the Ubereats,. Their differences in race and immigration status have led to their polarized feelings about the job.

For local people of Chicago who work as Ubereats drivers, they consider this job as “*ghost work”, without social interaction: working all day and contacting real people for less than 5 minutes. The lack of social regularity and community makes people feel like a machine or a small parameter that keeps beating in the algorithm.

For the new Chinese immigrants, they are “ *strangers”, living in language and cultural barriers. Such ghost work, a job not required of speaking English, provides them with a shelter, becoming a strategy of living in the United States but away from American culture. On some non-algorithm-driven Chinese food delivery platforms, interesting acquaintance societies have been constructed.

Finally, I met a new immigrant from Bulgaria, he is now an Ubereats driver in London. He considers this as a job geographically unconstrained, allowing him to completely become a liquid individual, floating around the world. He recently decided to live in an RV and work as a delivery worker in different places, so as to travel around the UK and the world.

I hope that this work can provide multiple opinions of the gig platform from a global perspective, and I also ask, what kind of new possibilities now we have with the ghost work characterized by high mobility?

*Ghost work, from Ghost Work, Book by Mary L. Gray

*stranger, from The Stranger, Georg Simmel

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