Abandoned Spaces and Technology Displacement by Labour: The Case of Hand Car Washes

16 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2018

See all articles by Ian Clark

Ian Clark

Nottingham Trent University

Date Written: November 2018


The diffusion of hand car washes is in contradistinction to vogue arguments about automation and new technology. However, what is absent from the literature is a focus on abandoned spaces as a capitalist commodity and the displacement of technology by labour which is particularly associated with the emergence of low-cost informalised areas of work that occupy and self-regulate these spaces. The contribution of this research to new knowledge is a theoretically informed empirical derivation of abandoned spaces which low-cost businesses such as hand car washes occupy to inform two research propositions; one, the spatial dimension to abandoned spaces derives from economic restructuring from above; this restructuring informs restructuring from below rather than as an independent development of migrant-dominated sectors of work and employment such as hand car washes. Two, that the application of new technology can be displaced by, operates in conjunction with or relies on low-cost labour‐intensive providers where labour practices tend towards informalisation.

Keywords: abandoned spaces, automation, displacement of technology, economic restructuring, hand car washes, informal work, migrant and low‐cost labour

Suggested Citation

Clark, Ian, Abandoned Spaces and Technology Displacement by Labour: The Case of Hand Car Washes (November 2018). New Technology, Work and Employment, Vol. 33, Issue 3, pp. 234-249, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3283252 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ntwe.12123

Ian Clark (Contact Author)

Nottingham Trent University ( email )

Burton Street
Nottingham NG1 4BU, NG1 4LN
United Kingdom

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics