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Title: The Automation of Compliance: Techno-Legal Regulation in the United States Trucking Industry
Authors: Levy, Karen Elinor Conway
Advisors: DiMaggio, Paul
Contributors: Sociology Department
Keywords: law
truck drivers
Subjects: Sociology
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Rules of all types are increasingly enforced by digital mechanisms. Technological enforcement regimes appeal to policymakers, in part, because machines can enforce rules more perfectly than humans do; human enforcement is "messier" due to the discretion, incentives, and biases of both enforcers and enforcees. Technological rule enforcement appears to shrink the gap between rule and practice by minimizing the human element and compelling compliance. But I posit that technological enforcement regimes relocate and reshape, rather than close, gaps between on-the-books rules and on-the-ground practices. New gaps between rules and practices open up as new sites of social contestation are created, new parties are brought into negotiation with one another, and the interests of existing stakeholders are resituated. This dissertation explores these dynamics in the context of new regulations that would mandate that truck drivers' work time be electronically monitored--rather than recorded on easily falsified paper logs, as they have been for decades--to induce compliance with hours-of-service limitations. My analysis considers how legal rules and technical capacities interact to create surveillant regimes that transcend public/private distinctions, realign institutional interests, and challenge occupational identities. I consider how communities of interest--law enforcement, trucking firms, and truckers themselves--respond to digital monitoring "in the wild." I find that interaction with these systems constructs new spaces between regulatory intention and social practice, provides new tools for managerial and legal control, and reconfigures industrial and law enforcement relationships. The case offers an instructive context in which to investigate the interplay of social organization, legal rules, and technical capabilities. This research helps us conceptualize how enforcement and regulation may be reframed when technological solutions are relied upon to exact compliance with rules. As technological enforcement mechanisms come to pervade many experiences of daily life, it becomes imperative to examine how these regimes emerge and interact with the social world. Through an in-depth examination of the development and operation of an electronic monitoring device in one legal and organizational context, this dissertation aims to contribute to broad social debates about the role of technological surveillance in legal rulemaking and social life.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Sociology

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