“The doorstep has become a space for consumption. It’s at the point where something that’s purchased becomes private property, and in itself it is private property.
But for the worker in that space, it’s their workspace. And so there are all these dynamics and different ideas
about what needs to happen in that space that makes
it a really contentious space. It also is a
space that isn’t clearly regulated.”
— Aiha Nguyen
When an Amazon package arrives at your doorstep, it’s a non-event. Rarely do we pause to wonder about the workers involved, including the original merchant who shipped our purchase or the delivery driver who ferried it to our porch. This is no accident: logistics that appear seamless and impersonal are ones Amazon can manage at a distance. Having an army of hidden intermediaries also allows Amazon and other giant retail enterprises to set a grueling gold standard for retail interactions.
Edward Ongweso and Moira Weigel joined us for “Power and Retail at the Digital Doorstep,” a conversation hosted by Data & Society’s Labor Futures initiative, about the hidden relational dynamics that shape how we shop today. With a pair of D&S reports on the changing nature of commerce as our starting point, we will discuss the experiences of two crucial but often overlooked workforces — third party sellers and delivery drivers — in an effort to trace emerging networks of control and power in retail.