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Workshop about Platform Governance and Politics

2022 Workshop of the DVPW Working Group Digitalization and Politics

One of the most momentous changes that marks the digital transformation of societies is a trend towards ‘platformization’. Platformization can be understood as an increase of platform-shaped companies and business models (as in many ‘sharing economy’ business models), but also more generally as the advent of an organizational principle that relies upon user-based content, scalability, and modularization, among other aspects. The overall implications of platformization have been vividly discussed by scholars from different disciplines and policymakers alike for several years now, for example with regard to the effects of large online platforms on business models, public discourse, and political polarization.


This workshop of the DVPW Working Group Digitalization and Politics will zoom in on the political implications of platformization. It deals with the interactions between platformization and policies, politics, political institutions, and regulatory action. The workshop will also engage with related questions of power, social inequality, gender (in)justice, and sustainability.




Wednesday, 28th of September 2022

13:00                        Welcome and Introduction

13:30 – 15:00           Panel I: Platform Power and Strategies

Chair: Lena Ulbricht (Weizenbaum Institute/WZB Berlin)

Maximilian Mayer (University of Bonn): Theorizing the power of platforms – a puzzle of dominance and fragmentation

(Discussant: Timo Seidl)

Nicolás Palacios (ETH Zurich): Strategies and tactics in platform capitalism: Digital vignettes on contested spatial production through quick delivery platforms in Berlin and Barcelona

(Discussant: Maximilian Mayer)

Timo Seidl (Wien University) Getting a Grip on Platform Capitalism. Understanding the EU’s New Digital Competition Policy

(Discussant: Nicolás Palacios)

15:00 – 15:30             Coffee Break



15:30 – 16:30             Panel II: Education & Platforms

Chair: Angela Oels (University of Augsburg)

Yoosuf Ali (Jawaharlal Nehru University): The making of digital platforms and its implication on higher education in India

(Discussant: Julia Teebken)

Julia Teebken (Princeton University), Nicole Mitchell (Free University of Berlin): Adaptation platforms – a way forward for adaptation governance in small cities? Lessons learned from two cities in Germany

(Discussant: Yoosuf Ali)

16:30 – 17:00             Coffee Break



17:00 – 18:30            Panel III: Social Media, Hate Speech, and Publics in the Digital Age

Chair: Julia Schwanholz (University of Duisburg-Essen)

Sheila Lalwani (University of Texas): Enough is enough? How the German constitutional court considers gender-specific hate speech

(Discussant: Gabi Schlag)

Gabi Schlag (University of Tübingen): Saving the freedom of expression through platform governance? Contested norms and the re-configuration of publics in the digital age

(Discussants: Nathalie Van Raemdonck, Paula Wallmeyer, Wolf Schünemann)

Nathalie Van Raemdonck (Free University of Brussels), Paula Wallmeyer (Hildesheim University), Wolf Schünemann (Hildesheim University): In mods we trust? Assessing the effects of community self moderation on Reddit

(Discussant: Sheila Lalwani)

19:30 – open end      Dinner at Wirtshaus Duisburg

                                    Am Innenhafen 8-10, 47059 Duisburg


Thursday, 29th of September 2022


09:30 – 11:30             Panel IV: Political Parties and Elections

Chair: Lena Ulbricht (Weizenbaum Institute/WZB Berlin)

Julia Fleischer (Potsdam University), Lukas Thiele (Potsdam University): Issue yield in social media campaigns for the 2021 German federal election

(Discussant: Paige Isaacson)

Kristina Weissenbach (University of Duisburg-Essen), Jessica Beyer (University of Washington): Party institutionalization via platform? A comparative analysis of highly populated online communities on their route to institutionalized parties

(Discussants: Julia Fleischer, Lukas Thiele)

Ningjie Zhu (University of Bonn): Platformized China's party building: How does the CCP envision party governance based on AI-assisted platformization?

(Discussants: Christina Weissenbach, Jessica Beyer)

Paige Isaacson (Goldsmiths, University of London): Assemblages of Trumpism: the affective spaces of right-wing populist social media

(Discussant: Ningjie Zhu)

12:00                          Farewell and End of the Workshop



Universität Duisburg-Essen (Campus Duisburg)

Lotharstr. 53, 47057 Duisburg, Building: LS, Room: LS 105

Workshop organizers: Angela Oels (University of Augsburg); Julia Schwanholz (University of Duisburg-Essen); Lena Ulbricht (Weizenbaum Institute/WZB Berlin)


Workshop program as pdf