Coalitions of Socio-Technical Infrastructure: Platforms as Essential Services

Aditi Surie | 2021 


This commentary explores the experimental ways in which delivery platforms and local governments in India collaborated during the COVID19 lockdown in India in 2020. The case of one district government, which partnered with a large, corporate food delivery platform is explored here to investigate the platform functionalities that were the most useful to the local government. My exploration highlights how the developmental state mobilized commercial platforms for their constituent socio-technical infrastructural elements. What happens when corporate platforms are unexpectedly ushered into the realm of public values? Addressing this question, I argue that the government’s instrumental re-tooling of the private sector’s platforms to manage a public emergency contests absolute formulations of corporate platform power.