Graduation Year


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Political Science

Degree Granting Department

Department of Politics and International Affairs

Major Professor

Funke N. Funke, Ph.D.

Committee Member

M. Scott Solomon, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Harry E. Vanden, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kevin A. Yelvington, Ph.D


In the context of widely contested arguments in favor and against rapidly emerging gig platforms, my study embraces direct workers’ perspective on labor conditions through three thematic sections. The first section inquires about the new forms of labor exploitation under ride-hailing platforms. The second section asks about alienation and connects economic aspects, exploitation, and control of the production relations, with psychological manifestations such as normlessness, powerlessness, and isolation among drivers. The third section explores how alienation affects collective mobilization. Theoretically, I discuss and analyze “social factory,” the power of technology, legal (de)regulations, and “integrating framework” that set the stage for studying exploitation, alienation, and mobilization. I use qualitative mixed-method approach and two case studies, one of Uber drivers in Tampa Bay (United States), and another of CarGo and taxi drivers in Belgrade (Serbia). I argue that platform owners re-conceptualize the status of ride-hailing drivers and their earnings to more efficiently extract profits and expand their operation. As a result of increased control and deprivation of workers’ rights, ride-hailing drivers experience high levels of alienation, which inherits positive and negative potential for labor mobilization. High levels of normlessness and powerlessness lead to collective mobilization. Simultaneously, isolation makes collective mobilization sporadic and short-lived and prevents the formation of “class for itself,” despite belonging to “class in itself.”