In Cisio Scribere: Labor, Knowledge, and Politics of Cabdriving in Mexico City and San Francisco
AuthorAnderson, Donald Nathan
AdvisorAlonso, Ana M.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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.
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.
Degree ProgramGraduate College