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The Injuries of Platform Logistics

Hill, David ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3849-1170 (2019) The Injuries of Platform Logistics. Media, Culture & Society.

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In order to understand the social impact of digital platforms, we need to examine the ways in which they reconfigure space – not only through critique of that reconfiguring but also examination of the conditions within the spaces it forms. This article offers a typology of the injuries enacted by platform logistics, taking online retail as its focus and using Amazon as an exemplar. Cognitive Injury occurs when platforms act to conceal their operation from the awareness of users. Hidden Injury is enacted on the invisible labour that sustains platform functionality, a precarious workforce that labours under harsh conditions and within hostile spaces, somewhere below the cognisance of the user. Moral Injury speaks to the way that platform logistics, in concealing from awareness the conditions that sustain its operation, attacks the ability of users, or of a society at large, to act with responsibility. These injuries are shown to be at play in the processes that facilitate buying online and order fulfilment. It is argued that the speed of purchasing and delivery enacts an unconscious consumption, which dislocates users from the labour that delivers the goods, creating a kind of perceptual pollution that diminishes a sense of moral responsibility.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0163443719861840
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
School/Department: York Business School
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/3887

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