From disruption to domination: Trajectories and geographies of platformization

Conference: 6th Global Conference on Economic Geography, University College Dublin & Trinity College Dublin, 07–10 June 2022

Organizers: Gernot Grabher (HafenCity University Hamburg), Koen Frenken (Utrecht University), Martin Kenney (University of California, Davis)

Platforms rule. Any doubt on this verdict is habitually dispelled with a brief reference to the fact that the most valuable technology corporations – Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Meta, Microsoft – are all platform businesses. While the dominance of platforms appears beyond doubt, the conceptualization of platforms is rather contested. The phenomenon evades classic categorizations, as it transgresses established governance modes, organizational templates, sectoral boundaries, and legal frameworks: rather than adhering to a single architecture, platforms proliferate as diverse, ephemeral, and polymorphous forms; they strategically deploy conjectural geographies of material embeddedness and digital disembeddedness. Instead of studying platforms as a pristine category, this session seeks to elucidate trajectories and geographies of platformization as a contested recombination of various governance modes and elements.

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