Dr. Lucas Santos Souza

Guest Researcher (Research Grant Alexander von Humboldt Foundation)

Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies
February 2024–April 2024
Fluminense Federal University, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Title of current research project: "Autonomy and Control in the Work of Food Couriers in the 'Pre-Apps Age' in Rio de Janeiro"
Santos Souza
© Lucas Santos Souza

Academic Profile

This post-doctoral research is a historical analysis of the work of food couriers in the city of Rio de Janeiro, especially on the issue of autonomy and control over the work in the "pre-app period." Although several studies on app-based deliveries have emerged in recent years, few look at what has changed and what has remained the same since the arrival of apps. Even though it is part of the discourse of these companies to value flexible working hours and the autonomy that this work would allow, algorithmic management tends to be highly controlling and vigilant. In this way, the questions raised in the research are related to the experience of food couriers who worked in the activity in the period before the apps to find out their perceptions of freedom, autonomy and control over work before and after the arrival of these new technologies. Thus, this research, based on the perspective of social labour history and using oral history, aims to investigate these elements in the digitalisation process of deliveries.

PhD in History, Universidade Federal Fluminense, Niterói, Brazil

M.A. in History, Universidade Federal Fluminense, Niterói, Brazil

B.A. in History, Universidade Federal Fluminense, Niterói, Brazil

  • 2023. "The work of food couriers in Rio de Janeiro and digital labour platforms: the paths of precarisation." In Work in the Global Economy 3(2): 161–180.
  • 2023. "The 'Breque dos apps': resistance of Food couriers to platformised precarisation." In Temporalis 23: 201–216. 
  • 2023. "Social Labor History and research with judicial documents: methodological reflections on the investigation of the resistance of food couriers in Rio de Janeiro." In History through History, vol. 2, 685–694. São Carlos: Pedro & João Editores. 
  • 2022. "The impact of digital labour platforms on the working conditions of food couriers in Rio de Janeiro." In Future of Work(ers) 37. Southern Centre for Inequality Studies. Wits University.
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