[CPR-CSH Urban Workshop] Whims of a Digital Boss

[CPR-CSH Urban Workshop] Whims of a Digital Boss

Event Details

  • Date:

The Centre de Sciences Humaines (CSH) and the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) are pleased to invite you to an Urban Workshop (n° 113) on:

Whims of a Digital Boss: The Story of Insecure App-Based Workers in Delhi


Akriti Bhatia (Delhi School of Economics)

Tuesday, 25 June 2019, 3:45 onwards

CSH conference room (ground floor), 2, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Road, 11 0011 Delhi.



This paper explores the nature of work, labour and employment relations of app-based (and gig economy) workers extracting insights from 150 interviews among Ola & Uber cab drivers and focus group discussions among 50 Swiggy & Zomato food delivery agents.

It examines the interactions (and lack of interactions) of these gig economy workers with their “digital bosses” in the form of the apps to whom the workers must report to, follow instructions, meet targets of and receive penalties and incentives from, even as they are considered to be working as “self-employed”, “mini-entrepreneurs”, “freelancers” and “independent contractors”. This work therefore navigates through the concepts of contractualisation, tied/attached labour and disposability of a worker – producing and adding to the category of “urban insecure labour”. While looking at this interplay between the self and technology, one therefore poses a larger question of whether the platform economy provides a model of self-employment or self-exploitation.

It further questions the nature of employment arrangements and contracts, quality of work, security, grievance redressal mechanism and accountability of the companies involved. One also investigates into whether there is any organisation and unionisation of these workers for collective bargaining and what are the challenges encountered in the process.


Akriti Bhatia is a final year PhD research scholar at the Delhi School of Economics, Department of Sociology, Delhi University, specialising in urban, labour issues and political economy. She holds her Masters in Sociology from Jawaharlal Nehru University and Bachelors in Economics from Shri Ram College of Commerce, University of Delhi. She also pursued public policy from Takshashila Institution (a Bangalore based think tank). She is a columnist and hosts a show called ‘Shram Aur Hum’ on Workers Unity, an independent workers’ media platform. She is also the Founding Partner of public opinion platform Jan Ki Baat.

More info : telle  {dot}  olivier  {at}  gmail  {dot}  com

partha {at} cprindia {dot} org

marie-helene {dot} zerah {at} ird {dot} fr

For registration:

RSVP mentioning your full name to be sent (before Tuesday 25 June 12th) to: neeru  {dot}  gohar  {at}  csh-delhi  {dot}  com

(!) All French diplomatic territories being under protection, registered persons shall not forget their ID proof to be granted access to CSH.



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