PhD Summer School 2022: Trajectories of platform capitalism and platform work

The PhD Summer School 2022 is organised by FES Competence Centre on the Future of Work and Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society and will take place from 7-10 September, 2022 in Berlin. Application process is now open.


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Digital platforms have started to transform economic relationships and labour markets as we know them. As some argue, platforms might bring about a comprehensive restructuring of labour markets and could mean for contemporary capitalism what the birth of the factory had meant for industrial capitalism. Previous research has developed the major characteristics of the phenomenon of the ‘platform economy’ or ‘platform capitalism’ as such and highlighted issues such as the concentration of power and important questions for scientific inquiry and political reform.

Research on platform labour has improved our understanding about the specific forms of work organisation and control as well as on the subjectivities of platform workers and their abilities to struggle collectively. Yet there are many issues to be explored further such as the relationship of platforms to established firms and institutions, variations of the platform economy/platform work in different regions of the world, and the articulation of platform work with issues of gender, race and migration to name but a few.

In this summer school we aim to explore upcoming research questions related to the platform economy and platform work. By convening senior researchers and findings from ongoing PhD research we want to deepen our understanding about the methods to explore the empirical relevance and specifics of the phenomenon. We also want to situate individual research projects within the broader research agenda on the platform economy and platform work.

We invite submissions related to the topic of platform capitalism and platform work, including studies of algorithmic management on labour platforms; issues of race, gender and migration in platform work; varieties of platform capitalism; the role of platforms in reorganising traditional industries, ethics of digitalisation, strategic foresights and other.


Further Information

Number of places: 16 PhD working on the topics related to digitalisation transformation from the social science perspective. Interdisciplinary approaches are highly encouraged.

Eligibility: currently registered PhD students in Social Science/Related Disciplines.

Selection: Participants will be selected following a peer-review process and on the basis of scientific excellence of their proposed abstract. A fair balance between different regions of Europe and topics will be maintained.

Format of the event: On-site

Funding: All selected participants will be provided with 3 nights’ accommodation and meals during the stay. The travel costs and the costs for COVID-19 tests if required for the travel are not reimbursed. The PhD Students from Ukraine will be offered travel scholarships.

Fee: a fee of 50 EUR to be paid to the organisers once the list of participants is announced.


Guidelines for applications

Please send a short CV (max. 3 pages) and an abstract of your paper (400 words max) by April 30 2022.

Your abstract should contain the following subheadings:

  • Title of paper
  • Keywords (up to 4)
  • Research question
  • Theoretical framework
  • Methodology (if empirical paper)
  • Preliminary findings or conclusions

Applications (in a single PDF file) must be submitted to inga.sabanova(at)fesmoe.eu  by April 30 2022.

The list of participants will be announced by June 15th 2022.


Further steps

If you are selected you will be required to submit a manuscript of a full paper (4000 words, excluding footnotes and bibliography) by 15 July 2022 to inga.sabanova(at)fesmoe.eu

This is essential to ensure that participants get the most of this programme. Papers will be circulated in advance and allocated to peer discussants.

We kindly ask you to apply only if you accept these terms of conditions and are prepared to follow the guidelines and deadlines.

The best five papers will be published after the summer school.


Summer School’s academic instructors/mentors

Prof. Dr. Martin Krzywdzinski is a Professor of International Labour Relations at the Helmut Schmidt University in Hamburg, director at the Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society and head of the research group "Globalization, Work and Production" at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center.

Dr. Florian Butollo is a Research Fellow the WZB Berlin Social Science Center and senior advisor at the Enquete Commission ‘Artificial Intelligence – Social Responsibility and Economic Potential’ of the German Parliament.

Tatiana Lopez-Ayala is a Researcher at the international Fairwork Secretariat at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center and a member of the research group “Globalization, Work and Production”.

Dr. Funda Ustek Spilda is a Post-Doctoral Researcher and project manager at Fairwork, based at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of London. She studies issues of justice, fairness and ethics in emerging technologies, from the perspectives of labour, migration and gender.

Dr. Charalambos Tsekeris is a Senior Research Fellow in Digital Sociology at the National Centre for Social Research (Athens, Greece), and Vice-President of the Hellenic National Commission for Bioethics and Techno-ethics.

Connnect with us

Future of Work

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1040 Brussels

+32 2 329 30 32