The aim of this interdisciplinary workshop is to explore how the power of digital platforms manifests itself within different political regimes. Seeking to contribute to theory-building on how platforms govern, the workshop will identify and question key assumptions about how platform power intersects with democratic and autocratic politics. Is it possible to move beyond the democracy/autocracy dichotomy that permeates much of the scholarship? And if yes, what would this more complex conceptual model of platform power look like?
The concept of platform power refers to the accumulation and (ab)use of power in online networked environments, which extends beyond the concentration of economic power and the existence of market asymmetries to the societal and political power platforms wield (Van Dijck, Nieborg & Poell, 2019). As government regulation of platforms accelerates across the globe, gaining a more nuanced understanding of how platform power interacts with politics is essential.
To initiate interdisciplinary debate, the workshop commences with four short provocations: