Global perspectives on platforms & cultural production

June 29-30, 2023 – A workshop at the University of Amsterdam on the role platforms play in the (trans)formation of cultural practices.

Cultural producers—from record labels and news organizations to game developers and social media creators—are evermore dependent on digital platforms for the creation, distribution, and/or monetization of creative and informational content. This process, theorized as “platformization,” is, however, neither uniform nor unilateral. To better understand the specific socio-cultural, economic, political, and/or geographic contexts within which platformization takes shape, we solicit contributions that examine the particularities that characterize the evolving relationships between cultural producers and platform companies.

Bringing together research from around the world, this workshop and double special issue aims to revisit central concepts in the study of platforms and cultural production (e.g., precarity, diversity, public/private, agency, empowerment, authenticity, governance, modernization, Global South/Global North). The objective is to use this research as an opportunity for theory building. Rather than developing universalizing theories based on studies in the West, or replicating empirical cases across cultures, the idea is to diversify the geographies of theory. Understanding how platforms shape social and cultural relations, as well as how they employ data and algorithms in doing so, calls for new frames of reference.

Contributions to this collection should illuminate how the impact of platforms traverses different spheres of life, geopolitical borders, and industry boundaries. Besides encouraging authors to be explicit about the cultural and geographic focus of their research, we also invite contributors to consider how their scholarship is situated in or across fields, such as media and communication studies, cultural studies, science and technology studies, critical political economy and economics, sociology, area studies, anthropology, and geography, among others.

Thomas Poell, University of Amsterdam
David Nieborg, University of Toronto
Brooke Erin Duffy, Cornell University
Ping Sun, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
Arturo Arriagada, Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez
Bruce Mutsvairo, Utrecht University
Tommy Tse, University of Amsterdam
Jeroen de Kloet, University of Amsterdam

Sponsored by: Global Digital Cultures