Academic WorkshopJanuary 14 2021

Against Platform Determinism

How institutions, individuals, and infrastructures mediate platform power

Robyn Caplan, Meredith D. Clark, William Partin

"The phrase 'against platform determinism' is intended to work as a counterframe, one that acknowledges but does not fetishize the power platforms possess." ā€” Robyn Caplan, Meredith D. Clark, and Wiliam Partin

On January 14, 2021, Data & Society hosted our first ever online academic workshop. The full-day event brought together interdisciplinary researchers and practitioners who research how institutions, individuals, and infrastructures mediate platform power.

Out of close to 450 applications, hosts Robyn Caplan, Meredith D. Clark, and Wiliam Partin selected 60 participants from various career stages, specialties, sectors, and global locations and a range of disciplines, including legal, organizational, activist, policy, media, and platform domains. 14 papers were selected to workshop during the event, spanning across five major themes:

(1) Alternative internet histories;
(2) Platform deaths;
(3) Culture industries, subcultures, and modes of resistance;
(4) Mediation of platforms through infrastructure; and
(5) Multistakeholderism and influence.

Lightning Talks

What's next?

To continue building this network, we were thrilled to support the Centre for Media, Technology and Democracy at McGill University in hosting a second workshop cohort on March 3, 2021. Learn more about the workshop in the call for participants and the blog post written by Center for Media, Technology and Democracy Research Director Sonja Solomun.