The Platform Society: Public Values in a Connective World

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Author: van Dijck José

Brand: Oxford University Press

Number Of Pages: 240

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Individuals all over the world can use Airbnb to rent an apartment in a foreign city, check Coursera to find a course on statistics, join PatientsLikeMe to exchange information about one’s disease, hail a cab using Uber, or read the news through Facebook’s Instant Articles. The promise of connective platforms is that they offer personalized services and contribute to innovation and economic growth, while bypassing cumbersome institutional or industrial overhead.

In The Platform Society, Van Dijck, Poell and De Waal offer a comprehensive analysis of a connective world where platforms have penetrated the heart of societies-disrupting markets and labor relations, circumventing institutions, transforming social and civic practices and affecting democratic processes. This book questions what role online platforms play in the organization of Western societies. First, how do platform mechanisms work and to what effect are they deployed? Second, how can platforms incorporate public values and benefit the public good?

The Platform Society analyzes intense struggles between competing ideological systems and contesting societal actors — market, government and civil society — raising the issue of who is or should be responsible for anchoring public values and the common good in a platform society. Public values include of course privacy, accuracy, safety, and security, but they also pertain to broader societal effects, such as fairness, accessibility, democratic control, and accountability. Such values are the very stakes in the struggle over the platformization of societies around the globe.

The Platform Society highlights how this struggle plays out in four private and public sectors: news, urban transport, health, and education. Each struggle highlights local dimensions, for instance fights over regulation between individual platforms and city governments, but also addresses the level of the platform ecosystem as well as the geopolitical level where power clashes between global markets and (supra-)national governments take place.


“…van Dijck, Poell, and de Waal’s book provides a very interesting definition of platform society, along with a detailed analysis of the way many sectorial platforms work.” — Andrea Miconi, IULM University Milan, International Journal of Communication

About the Author

José van Dijck is a distinguished university professor at Utrecht University. She held previous positions as a professor of Media Studies and Dean of Humanities the University of Amsterdam and she was President of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her book The Culture of Connectivity. A Critical History of Social Media was also published by Oxford University Press (2013).

Thomas Poell is Senior Lecturer in New Media & Digital Culture at the University of Amsterdam. He has published widely on social media and popular protest, as well as on the role of these media in the development of new forms of journalism. His co-edited books include The Sage Handbook of Social Media (2018), and Global Cultures of Contestation (2017).

Martijn de Waal is a Lector at the Play & Civic Media research group at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. His research centers on the relation between digital media, society and urban culture, with a specific interest in public space and civic media. His book The City as Interface. How New Media are Changing the City was published in 2012. In 2009 he was a visiting scholar at the Center for Civic Media at M.I.T.

Release Date: 02-11-2018

Package Dimensions: 23x234x374

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