Abel Gonçalves Guerra (LSE) - 2021-22 Students

Platformisation from the South: mapping the epistemologies and imaginations of Uber’s infiltration in Brazil

This research project intends to investigate the infrastructural and epistemological dimensions of platformisation and its implications in the Global South by exploring Uber’s infiltration in Brazil. My approach seeks to examinate Uber as part of a wider knowledge infrastructure, particularly in relation to the production o spatial knowledge. I aim to employ ethnographic and technographic methods to examine Uber’s infrastructural dimension and the production of predominantly data-oriented ways of knowing and intervening in heterogeneous contexts, through totalizing epistemologies achieved through the datafication of territories, urban dynamics and diverse practices. By investigating Uber’s actions in Brazil, I expect to map how Uber’s aspirations are countered by local singularities that are erased or missed by the platform’s datafication endeavors. The investigative and analytical efforts envisioned in this project are informed by an approximation between platform studies, infrastructure studies, and Southern and decolonial perspectives. An investigation of platformisation from the South(s) can provide the lenses to critically unpack the totalising knowledge digital platforms strive for, and the tools to build alternative ways of knowing and examining digital platforms in their infrastructural dimension.

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