Abel Guerra

Abel Guerra

PhD Researcher

Department of Media and Communications

Connect with me

English, Portuguese, Spanish
Key Expertise
Knowledge Production, Platforms, Infrastructures, South, Datafication,

About me

Research topic

"The real world is messy: Uber, knowledge infrastructures and the production of territories"

Abel is interested in studying the social, political,and epistemological implications of "platformisation" in the Global South. As digital platforms expand their reach across the globe, they encounter variable conditions and unexpected local singularities.  Abel’s research focuses on Uber as an infrastructural actor. Drawing from Science and Technology Studies (STS), infrastructure studies, and decolonial perspectives, he intends to investigate Uber as part of a spatial knowledge infrastructure, as the platform invests in a production of predominantly data-oriented totalizing ways of knowing and intervening in heterogeneous territories. His interest lies in how different human and non-human actors relate to each other as they are networked into this spatial knowledge infrastructure and in the processes of knowledge production and validation in which they are involved. Whereas most studies about Uber accentuate its role in the precarisation and digitalization of labour, this research situates labour on a broader arrangement of knowledge production. Departing from the dominant studies of platforms within the social sciences this study foregrounds a Southern perspective on platformisation, by examining how these endeavours are specified in São Paulo, Brazil. 


Dr Wendy Willems and Professor Nick Couldry


Abel holds a Master’s degree in Media and Communication from Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais Brazil (PPGCOM/UFMG), where his research was supported by the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq). In his master’s thesis, entitled “Infrastructures, narratives, and algorithmic imaginaries: technographing Uber’s surge pricing”, Abel investigated the algorithmic agencies of Uber’s surge pricing in three analytical dimensions: rhetorical/narrative, material/infrastructural, and affective/imaginary. Abel holds a BA in Social Communication (FAFICH/UFMG) where he acted as an undergraduate research assistant for two different projects, both funded by CNPq, and wrote their undergraduate research thesis on Uber and the platformisation of labor. He is currently a member of the research group R-EST: Estudos Redes Sociotécnicas (UFMG). His doctoral project is supported by a London Arts and Humanities Partnership Studentship. 

Expertise Details

Knowledge Production; Platforms; Infrastructures; South; Datafication;


Peer Reviewed Publications

(Forthcoming) “Platform scams: Brazilian workers’ experiences of dishonest and uncertain algorithmic management", with Rafael Grohmann, Gabriel Pereira, Amanda Jurno, Bruno Moreschi and Ludmila Abílio. New Media and Society.

(2021) “Dimensões algorítmicas do trabalho plataformizado: cartografando o preço dinâmico da Uber”, with Carlos D’Andréa.  E-COMPÓS, 24. https://doi.org/10.30962/ec.2046 (available in Portuguese) (“Algorithmic dimensions of platform labor: Cartographing Uber’s surge pricing”)

(2020). “Plataformização e produção biopolítica do espaço: cartografando a infiltração da Uber no Brasil.” Revista Indisciplinar, 6 (1): 290–313. doi.org/10.35699/2525-3263.2020.26332 (available in Portuguese) (“Platformization and the biopolitical production of space: cartographing Uber’s infiltration in Brazil ”

(2020). “Plataformização e trabalho algorítmico: contribuições dos Estudos de Plataforma para o fenômeno da uberização”, with Fernanda da Costa Portugal Duarte. Revista Eptic,22 (2): 38–55.  https://seer.ufs.br/index.php/eptic/article/view/12129 (available in Portuguese)  (“Platformization and algorithmic labor: contributions from Platform Studies to the uberization phenomenon”)


Book Chapters

(2021) “Gerenciando incertezas às próprias custas: motoristas Uber sob a Pandemia no Brasil.” In: Milan, S. Treré, E. Masiero, S. (eds.). Covid-19 from the margins: pandemic invisibilities, policies and resistances in the datafied society. https://networkcultures.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Covid19FromTheMargins-1.pdf (Portuguese). English version available at <https://data-activism.net/2020/06/bigdatasur-covid-managing-uncertainty-at-your-own-expense-brazilian-uber-drivers-during-the-covid-19-pandemics/>   (“Managing uncertainty at your own expense: Brazilian Uber drivers during the Covid-19 pandemics”)

(2021) “A mobilidade urbana entre dados, plataformas, infraestrutura: o caso do Uber Movement e do Uber Transit”, with Carlos D’Andréa . In: Rena et al. Urbanismo Biopolítico. https://files.indlab.net/producao-ind/livros/Ebook%20Urbanismo%20Biopol%C3%ADtico.pdf (available in Portuguese) (“Urban  mobility between data, platforms and infrastructure: the case of Uber Movement and Uber Transit”)


Conference Papers

(2021) “Algorithmic Imaginaries in the Making: Brazilian Ubertubers encounters with surge pricing algorithms”, with Carlos D’Andréa. AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research, 2021. https://doi.org/10.5210/spir.v2021i0.12177

(2019) Trabalho plataformizado, assimetrias e vigilância: notas sobre as ações e tensionamentos da mediação algorítmica no trabalho dos motoristas Uber, with Fernanda da Costa Portugal Duarte.  In: VI Simpósio Internacional LAVITS: “Assimetrias, e (In)Visibilidades: Vigilância, Gênero e Raça.            (“Platform labor, asymmetries and surveillance: notes on algorithmic mediation’s actions and contestation on Uber drivers labor”)

(2019) Plataformização do trabalho: um estudo sobre as redes em ação no trabalho dos motoristas Uber, with Fernanda da Costa Portugual Duarte.  In: XXXXII Congresso Brasileiro de Ciências da Comunicação. (“Platformization of labor: a study of the networks in action in Uber Driver’s labor”)


Invited Talks

(2021) Os laboratórios do trabalho digital | Com Rafael Grohmann, Aline Os e Ana Guerra. Organized by Boitempo Editora, virtual format.  (“The laboratories of digital labor”)

(2020) Session “Capitalismo de plataforma: mapeando experiências e resistências” - Invited Speaker, V Fórum de Comunicação e Trabalho, Intercom Virtual Format, December., 2020. at XXXXIII Congresso Brasileiro de Ciências da Comunicação, Intercom Virtual Format.   (“Platform capitalism, mapping experiences and resistances”)

(2020) Panel “Performatividades algorítmicas e trabalho plataformizado”-  Invited Panelist. Maratona Digilabor, UNISINOS, Virtual Format, oct, 2020. (“Algorithmic performatives and platform labor”)