by Sunniva Sandbukt（IT-University of Copenhagen
The seminar will take place online via ZOOM. All welcome but registration is required. Please register via SciTech Asia’s website:
In this talk, I examine how digital ride-hailing apps in Indonesia, Gojek and Grab, have evolved from transport to a broader platform of financial services, including privately issued e-money, and how they advocate for the expansion of cashless peer-to-peer (P2P) payment systems. I focus especially on how their fleets of on-demand drivers are used to convert customers of the apps’ transport services, into customers of their financial services. I argue that these apps position users into new hierarchical exchange relationships, contradicting the flat, or symmetrical exchange relationship imagined in P2P transaction, while also minimizing the companies’ influence as intermediary. I further contend that this transactional constellation camouflages the financial interests that these companies have in generating platform activity. During six months of fieldwork in Yogyakarta, between 2018 and 2019, I explored these transactional dynamics by extensive use of the apps and by meeting both their drivers and customers, along with various fintech industry representatives and other local stakeholders. Through this work, I show that the exchange of digital money through these ride-hailing apps constitutes far more than the financial transaction and contains much more than can be summarized in an elegant acronym.
Sunniva Sandbukt（IT-University of Copenhagen）
Sunniva Sandbukt, PhD., is a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Digital Welfare, and a member of the Technologies in Practice research group at the IT-University of Copenhagen. Her research draws largely from both economic anthropology and Science and Technology Studies, and critically engages with the digitalisation and private enclosure of social infrastructures.