Platform Politics and Policy

This interdisciplinary seminar series seeks to highlight cutting-edge conceptual and empirical work on the various political-economic dimensions of digital capitalism, with a focus on the platform economy and the growing (and increasingly contested!) role of multinational technology ‘platform’ companies. Topics of interest include: historical or comparative perspectives on the evolution of platform power across various sectors; the politics of European digitally-oriented public policy; critical approaches to understanding the digital economy. We seek to tackle a wide range of platform ‘types’ (from search engines, social networks, and other user-generated content platforms, to ‘locally-tethered,’ infrastructural, and industrial platforms) and maintain a global perspective as much as possible.

What: A 75-minute seminar with a presentation (approx. 30 min), followed by Q&A

When: Every six weeks or so on a Wednesday afternoon, 16:00-17:15 Berlin time

Where: Online, or at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center, Reichpietschufer 50, 10785 Berlin

Who: The researchers of the Digitalization and Societal Transformation research cluster, and other interested colleagues at the WZB.

Researchers from outside the WZB who would like to attend may email the organizer, robert.gorwa [at], to be put onto the seminar series mailing list.


Sessions (Forthcoming)

Jamie Woodcock (Essex): 'The Fight Against Platform Capitalism: An Inquiry into the Global Struggles of the Gig Economy'


Sessions (Past)

Brenda Dvoskin (Georgetown): 'Big Tech Feminism'

Corinne Cath (TU Delft): 'What is the Cloud Doing to the Internet?'

Wendy Wong (British Columbia): 'We, the Data: Human Rights in the Digital Age'

Jathan Sadowski (Monash University): 'Vital Data: Making Markets and Changing Lives with a Global Insurance Platform'

Julian Posada (Yale): 'Embedded Reproduction in Platform Data Work'

Timo Seidl (University of Vienna): 'Polanyi and List Meet in Brussels: Digital Sovereignty and the Future of EU Digital Policymaking'

Katrin Tiidenberg (Tallinn University): 'Sex, Power, and Platform Governance'

Veena Dubal (UC Hastings): 'Employee Status, Worker Perspectives, & Regulation in the Gig Economy'

Jessa Lingel (Penn): 'Digital Activism, Resistance, and the Gentrification of the Internet'

Tomiwa Ilori (University of Pretoria): 'Law and labour: Two emerging frontiers of social media platform governance in African countries'

Jean-Marie Chenou (
Universidad de los Andes): ‘Varieties of digital capitalism: platform regulation in Latin America

Ya-Wen Lei (Harvard University): ‘
Rewiring the Techno-Nation

Michael Veale (University College London): ‘
Ceci n’est pas un produit: What the EU AI Act Misses, and Why

Niels van Doorn, Aleksandra Piletic, Eva Mos, and Jelke Bosma (University of Amsterdam): ‘Platformization and Regulatory Embeddedness

Robin Mansell (LSE): ‘Platform Futures: Contesting Technology and Governance Trajectories

Elettra Bietti (Cornell Tech): ‘A Genealogy of Platform Regulation