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Platform capitalism and its discontents: Overtourism, gentrification, and new forms of activism [Anthropology and Social Movements]
Alexander Koensler (University of Perugia)
Filippo Zerilli (University of Cagliari)
Network affiliated Panels
Time zone:
Wednesday 22 July, 8:30-10:15, 11:00-12:45

Short abstract:

The rise of "platform capitalism", the new web-based monopolies, increasingly shapes contemporary social relations worldwide. This workshop invites ethnographic contributions of overtourism, gentrification and new forms of activism in light of this global process toward platform monopolies.

Long abstract:

The impact of digital technologies on cityscapes, rural environments, and communities is one of the most incisive features of contemporary social life. In and beyond Europe, the advent of what has been described as "platform capitalism" (Srnicek 2016) - the rise of multinational corporations based on internet platforms that extract, store, process, and analyse data - is considered the dominant, future form of capital accumulation creating new transnational economic monopolies. While the increasing global inequalities produced by these processes have been highlighted by several social science scholars, their actual implications on given local contexts require further analysis. Ethnography is particularly well situated to document a range of forms of discontent and resistance to this global dynamics and their uneven trajectories. In this workshop we invite scholars to explore some of the implications of platform capitalism, focusing on ethnographies of overtourism, gentrification and new forms of activism. We notably invite contributions which examine emerging forms of mobilisation and ask how these relate to platform monopolies. We also suggest to look at how new forms of activism against overtourism and gentrification intersect with more traditional forms of political activism. Looking behind and beyond the apparent new transparency of digital technologies we propose to discuss contradictions and challenges of platform capitalism from a critical, ethnographic standpoint.