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Call for Papers – 2nd Digital Geographies Conference

Call for Papers – 2nd Digital Geographies Conference – Critical perspectives on the platform economy (online conference) – (October 28-29, 2021)

Centre of Geographical Studies, Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning, University of Lisbon

Urban and Regional Change and Policies Research Group (ZOE)


Mário Vale, Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning, University of Lisbon Daniela Ferreira, Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning, University of Lisbon Nuno Rodrigues, Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning, University of Lisbon

The emergence and centrality of digital technologies to various aspects of society proves to be one of the defining aspects of contemporaneity, particularly highlighted by the recent Covid-19 pandemic. Among these, digital platforms emerge as one of its main aspects, introducing new business models, new forms of intermediation, relationships and social practices, and a growing centrality of data for economic processes (Srnickek, 2017; Kitchin, 2020).

As firms become increasingly dependent on digital communication, data have played a central role in their relations with workers, customers, and other actors. In this sense, digital platforms, in which a great number of firms are integrated, provide the capacity to manage, analyse and extract large amounts of information, which leads to a reconfiguration of business models. Platforms – as open, flexible, and dynamic digital infrastructures – take on the role of intermediaries and enhance network connectivity between actors who might be consumers, advertisers, producers, suppliers, among others (Rochet & Tirole, 2006; Gawer, 2009; Ramaswamy & Ozcan, 2014; Bratton, 2015; Srnicek, 2017).

We are facing a new convergence in which the central elements are open firms and increasingly active stakeholders. A new form of economy is emerging, one based on the combination of platforms, big data, additive manufacturing, advanced robotics, machine learning and the internet of things, which has been defined by terms such as platform capitalism (Pasquale, 2016; Langley & Leyshon, 2017; Srnicek, 2017), platform economy (Kenney & Zysman, 2016), or the fourth revolution (World Economic Forum, 2015; Floridi, 2016).

This economic and technological context has allowed digital platforms to become a means of creating new services and products present in all of our everyday lives. Whilst platforms such as Uber, Airbnb, Tripadvisor, or Amazon have created various opportunities for firms and users as consumers, the logic of platform economy underlying these platforms has presented several challenges that need to be explored, such as gig economy or automatization. Among these, there are several debates regarding the social and labor effects of automation, the mutation of work within the gig economy, or the possible reproduction of various forms of inequality (gender, sexuality, race, class, age, among others) (Elwood, 2020).

We invite both conceptual and empirical papers that consider a critical perspective on the platform economy and what it can generate, including, but not limited to:

– Theoretical discussions about the platform economy (challenges, opportunities, reflections);

– Platform economy, open innovation and value cocreation;

– Platforms and consumer experience (e-commerce, delivery);

– Labour precarity (gig economy), Algorithmic management, Intermediation, Micro Tasking and Deskilling processes;

– Cyber-divisions;

– Digital inequalities (gender, ethnic, class, spatial);

– Privacy, surveillance, and data sovereignty issues;

– Platforms, Automation and Infrastructure;

– Smart City and uneven development;

– Methods – Data analytics and critical approaches.

The COVID-19 pandemic context has aggravated some of these issues but also slowed down the pace of others. With this in mind, proposals examining with the effects of the pandemic on the platform economy are welcome.

Please email prospective abstracts (250 words) with author details and affiliation or any questions to (Daniela Ferreira) ( and by May 31, 2021. All contributions should be sent in English. Authors will be notified by the organizers until June 30, 2021.

Depending on the interest of the participants, we plan to organize a Special Issue on a peer review indexed journal in the field.

We look forward to receiving your abstracts, and please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions!

Photo by NASA on Unsplash


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