Platform Economies
Research Network

The Platform Economies Research Network is a learning collaboration that focuses on the socio-technical bases of platform economies. PERN members conduct programmatic research on a variety of digital platforms and processes to gain insight into how data becomes a value form. These platforms include information infrastructures and computational technologies (e.g., cloud-based services); new financial technologies (e.g., fintech); and emerging practices for automated pricing, taxation, and risk assessment. PERN focuses specifically on the materiality of digital platforms and the forms of value they generate. Our collaboration is based on the conviction that social scientists must learn about the architectures and operations of digital technologies as a fundamental aspect of their research. Digital infrastructures are often investigated in ways that assume a divide between “the technical” and “the social.” In contrast, PERN articulates questions that bring the technical and the social into one frame. Through sustained collaboration, our goal is to gain new competencies and innovative methods for empirical research into core aspects of computational technologies and infrastructures that generate value.

PERN is international and interdisciplinary: members reside in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and East Asia; and include scholars from anthropology, economic sociology, historical studies, information science, political science, and media studies. PERN provides mutual support to members and collaborators. To that end, we run regular online meetings that are devoted to open-ended discussion of works-in-progress. The latter include members’ fieldwork materials, research findings, and recent publications, as well as industry reports and analyses from computing, management studies, and business administration. Invited guests include both academic researchers and industry practitioners. PERN also runs a regular live-streamed Salon series that brings our conversations to a broader audience. We welcome Salon presentations in all forms of media and seek to foster exchange between academia and industry.



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