Ride-hailing platforms such as Uber, an integral component in the global platform economy, are not only facilitating fluidity and so-called autonomy of labor; they are also creating an unfair working environment for workers. This phenomenon indicates the strength of a highly temporal and mobile capital, pitted against workers not just in Lagos but around the world. This article adopts James Scott’s notion of everyday resistance in exposing some of the hidden practices of platform drivers in Lagos. It finds that sabotaging and falsely complying through manipulating algorithms and gaming spaces for rewards are facilitated by social media and communication networks, are deliberate, hidden practices to subvert algorithmic control. While Lagos is a unique case in the global South, examples from global North cities highlight some peculiarity. A robust qualitative methodology was conducted comprising semistructured interviews, focus group discussions, and participant observations from forty Uber and Bolt trips. Other primary data sources include driver forums, attending driver training sessions and listening to transport radio programs.

This article identifies temporal and spatial dynamics in recognizing everyday hidden practices as not always hidden, but dispersed and inconsistent because of the mutual learning capabilities between platform drivers and algorithmic managers. The hidden transcripts of platform drivers delve into public realms and back following, enabling platform drivers to develop new hidden practices, typifying a continuous power struggle in Lagos.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.