Special collection of Social Media + Society (Open Access Journal)
Abstract submission deadline: May 15, 2018
Full paper submission deadline: September 15, 2018
Editors: Brooke Erin Duffy (Cornell University), David Nieborg (University of Toronto), Thomas Poell (University of Amsterdam)
This thematic issue explores the “platformization of cultural production” (Nieborg & Poell, 2018) against the backdrop of wider transformations in the technologies, cultures, and political economies of digital media. Platformization describes the process by which major tech companies—GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft) in the West, and the so-called “three kingdoms” of the Chinese internet (Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent) in Asia—are reconfiguring the production, distribution, and monetization of cultural products and services. The logic of platformization is impacting traditional cultural industries (e.g., music, news, museums, games, and fashion), as well as emergent digital sectors and communities of practice, such as livestreaming, podcasting, and “Instagramming.” Accordingly, new industrial formations and partnerships are constantly being wrought; for example, newspapers increasingly host their content on Facebook, and game developers offer their products in app stores operated by Apple and Google.
Given the acceleration and intensification of digital platforms in the cultural circuit, there is a pressing need to interrogate the stakes of platformization for content producers and for the cultural commodities they circulate among digitally networked audiences. We invite theoretical and/or empirical contributions addressing platform power and political economies vis-à-vis cultural production. Owing to the relative recency of research on platformization, this topic warrants an interdisciplinary focus including scholarship from such fields as media and communication studies, platform studies, software studies, political economy of communication, (media) production studies, and business studies. Platformization exacts widely variable costs across different spheres of life, and regional and sectoral boundaries. We therefore invite scholars to contribute papers which advance our understanding of how the platformization of particular sectors and practices takes shape within specific geo-national contexts, as well as how this involves new modes of content moderation and algorithmic curation, evolving forms of labour exploitation, and app-based systems of distribution and monetization.
We are especially interested in articles that shed new light across these themes:
*Theoretical approaches to platformization and the social, cultural and technological contexts of platform-dependent modes of cultural production.
*Intersectional approaches that are sensitive to the gendered, classed, and racial specificity of platform-dependent modes of cultural production.
*Political economic approaches to platformization, including the implications for cultural producers and labor relations, as well as relationships among different institutional actors in platform ecosystems.
*Regional approaches to platformization. For example, the impact of the platformization of cultural industries in particular countries, or regions, such as the European Union.
*Sectoral studies of specific industry sectors and modes of cultural production and circulation such as journalism, game and music production, museums, or emerging ‘platform-native’ practices such streaming and vlogging.
*Historical approaches to platformization. Contributions that investigate the transformation of specific production practices as they become integrated with, or dependent on digital platforms.
*The policy implications of platformization on a local, national or regional level, or studies of policy interventions.
*Formal and informal efforts to resist platformization, such as the development of platform independent subscription-based distribution and monetization models.
*Infrastructural approaches that are sensitive to the material dimensions of platform-based modes of cultural production.
*Methodological interventions, which reflect on the methodologies employed when researching cultural production in platform ecosystems.
750-word abstracts should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by May 15, 2018. The abstract should articulate: 1) the issue or research question to be discussed, 2) the methodological or critical framework used, and 3) indicate the expected findings or conclusions. Decisions will be communicated to the authors by June 1, 2017.
Full papers of the selected abstracts should be submitted by September 15, 2018 to be discussed in the Toronto workshop.
On October 8-9, 2018 (right before AoIR 2018-Montreal), the special collection editors will organise a 2-day event hosted by the University of Toronto. Day 1 will feature a workshop hosted by the McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology. Workshop participation is not a condition for being included in the special collection. The workshop provides all thematic issue contributors an opportunity for debate and an initial round of feedback on the papers. Accommodation and catering during the event will be covered for accepted contributors. There is limited travel support for junior scholars.
The deadline for submitting the revised paper for double blind peer-review is December 1, 2018.
The planned publication date of this special collection of Social Media + Society is in the second half of 2019