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Juan Del Nido, author of 'Taxis vs Uber: Courts, Markets, and Technology in Buenos Aires', discusses his book with Niels van Doorn and Valentina Carraro.

Event details of Book Talk: 'Taxis vs Uber'; a Conversation with Juan Del Nido
Date 2 February 2023
Time 16:00 -18:00

Global Digital Cultures and Platform Labor are very happy to invite you to a book talk on 2 February, convened at the Roeterseiland Campus (E0.22) between 16:00 and 18:00.

At this event, we will have Niels van Doorn and  Valentina Carraro in conversation with Juan Del Nido, author of the book "Taxis Vs. Uber: Courts, Markets, and Technology in Buenos Aires".

About the book:

Uber's April 2016 launch in Buenos Aires plunged the Argentine capital into a frenzied hysteria that engulfed courts of law, taxi drivers, bureaucrats, the press, the general public, and Argentina's president himself. Economist and anthropologist Juan Del Nido, who had arrived in the city six months earlier to research the taxi industry, suddenly found himself documenting the unprecedented upheaval in real time. Taxis vs. Uber examines the ensuing conflict from the perspective of the city's globalist, culturally liberal middle class, showing how notions like monopoly, efficiency, innovation, competition, and freedom fueled claims that were often exaggerated, inconsistent, unverifiable, or plainly false, but that shaped the experience of the conflict such that taxi drivers' stakes in it were no longer merely disputed but progressively written off, pathologized, and explained away.

This first book-length study of the lead-up to and immediate aftermath of the arrival of a major platform economy to a metropolitan capital considers how the clash between Uber and the traditional taxi industry played out in courtrooms, in the press, and on the street. Looking to court cases, the politics of taxi licenses, social media campaigns, telecommunications infrastructure, public protests, and Uber's own promotional materials, del Nido examines the emergence of "post-political reasoning": an increasingly common way in which societies neutralize disagreement, shaping how we understand what we can even legitimately argue about and how.

About the author and discussants

Juan Del Nido is Research Associate at the University of Cambridge’s Max Cam Centre for Ethics, Economy and Social Change. Originally trained as an economist, he worked as a political consultant in Buenos Aires before turning to social anthropology to study political and economic reasoning and the ethics of new technologies.  

His work has been awarded the Royal Anthropological Institute’s Sutasoma Award for Research of Outstanding Merit and has been published by Economic Anthropology, The Cambridge Journal of Anthropology, The Anthropology of Work Review, and Hipertextos. He has produced policy recommendations for the Argentine Congress and the British Parliament and written opinion columns for Argentina’s national daily La Nacion. His book Taxis vs. Uber: Courts, Markets and Technology in Buenos Aires, (Stanford U. Press, 2021) examining the conflict around Uber’s arrival in Argentina was awarded the Carol R. Ember Book Prize by the Society for Anthropological Sciences.

Dr. Valentina Carraro is Assistant Professor at the Department of Human Geography, Planning and International Development Studies of the University of Amsterdam. She is part of the Political and Economic Geographies programme group within the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research. Her research connects digital and political geography with political ecology perspectives, examining how geospatial technologies reconfigure the built and social environment, and intervene on political processes. She is the author of Jerusalem Online: Critical Cartography for the Digital Age (Palgrave-MacMillan, 2021).

Niels van Doorn is Associate Professor of New Media and Digital Culture, in the Department of Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam. He is also the Principal Investigator of the Platform Labor research project.

The event will stage a lively discussion around the book and its themes, followed by audience Q&A. Drinks will be available afterwards. 

We look forward to seeing you!