‘Ghost Accounts’, ‘Joki Accounts’ and ‘Account Therapy’

Everyday Resistance Among Ride-hailing Motorcycle Drivers in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

  • Wening Mustika Universitas Muhammadiyah Palangkaraya
  • Amalinda Savirani Universitas Gadjah Mada
Keywords: app-based workers, gamification, gig work, platform economy, politics of algorithm

Abstract

This article shows how motorcycle taxi drivers in Yogyakarta, Indonesia deal with labour insecurity, tighter competition, minimum social welfare, decreased tariff and bonuses and longer working hours. The article finds that drivers employ diverse strategies to obtain more orders and therefore also more income. Drivers use prohibited mobile application-based technologies, which resemble those of their platforms, as well as non-technological strategies to boost their account’s performance. The article argues that whereas these prohibited practices can be understood as everyday resistance (Scott 1985), as oppositional acts against the holders of power and capital, they are also pragmatic survival tactics. Furthermore, the article shows that although the drivers’ resistance is individual, their knowledge and strategies are sourced and shared collectively through social media platforms. Being widely distributed between drivers and commonly applied by drivers, these strategies have nonetheless not been able to transform driver-company relationships in any significant way.

Author Biographies

Wening Mustika, Universitas Muhammadiyah Palangkaraya
WENING MUSTIKA is a junior lecturer at the Department of Public Administration, Universitas Muhammadiyah Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan. She recently graduated from the master program at Department Politics and Government, Universitas Gadjah Mada. Email: wenzmustika@gmail.com.
Amalinda Savirani, Universitas Gadjah Mada
AMALINDA SAVIRANI is an associate professor at the Department of Politics and Government, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Universitas Gadjah Mada. She was the head of department (2016-2020) and currently serves as the PhD program coordinator. Her research interest is on social movement in the context of urban area, labour movement and civil society in Indonesia.  Email: savirani@ugm.ac.id.

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Published
2021-03-31
Section
Articles