Different directions or the same route? The varied identities of ride-share drivers
- Publication Type:
- Journal Article
- Journal of Industrial Relations, 2019, 61 (4), pp. 549 - 573
- Issue Date:
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© 2019, Australian Labour and Employment Relations Association (ALERA), SAGE Publications Ltd, Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore and Washington DC. In this article we draw on personal narratives to study the identity work conducted by ride-share drivers to make sense of their occupational identity that is made problematic by the ambiguity of their legal classification and the precarious nature of their material conditions. Our contribution is twofold. First, we reveal the specificity of the identity work conducted by gig workers in comparison to other groups of workers such as employees and independent workers. We uncover the narratives that gig workers use to construct a coherent discourse that accommodates the trade-offs that their occupation involves. Second, we provide an understanding of the experience of gig workers. We adopt the term ‘sub-entrepreneur’ to refer to a type of independent contractor who experiences less freedom than those with true entrepreneurial scope and autonomy in their work. This definition assists in our reflection on our findings in relation to the future of gig workers, gig work and gig platforms.
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