Richardson, L. (2020). Platforms, Markets, and Contingent Calculation: The Flexible Arrangement of the Delivered Meal.

UK online food delivery company Deliveroo has a platform that automates the coordination of meal delivery, creating a market for the delivered meal. This market indicates the necessity to examine the social arrangements produced through the platform beyond the labour of the delivery worker. Markets comprise heterogeneous actors that require their coordination to be calculated. Deliveroo, though, offers two competing view of markets. First, as interfaces in which supply and demand are represented as autonomous blocs that are articulated through the goods of the delivered meal whose constitution, including the labour of delivery, is black-boxed. Second, as agencement – formatting collective arrangements – in which the goods of the delivered meal are contingently calculated as a flexible arrangement of riders, restaurants and customers in which these actors have differing degrees of choice concerning their participation, and through which new service performances are emerging in the necessity for their contingent interaction. [Read More]