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Message posted on 11/02/2020

Reminder: EASST-4S CFP: Networks, platforms and the form of the socio-technical

Apologies for cross-posting:

CFP: Networks, platforms and the form of the socio-technical
EASST-4S Conference Prague 18-21st August 2020.

Dr Lizzie Richardson (University of Sheffield, UK) & Dr James Ash
(Newcastle University, UK)

The relationship between society and technology has long been approached
through networks. Networks have been used variously as a method, as a
rhetorical device for understanding the form of social relations and as
an analytic of social form. In STS, the study of the materialisations of
networks has been a key focus, where the network functions as a metaphor
that enables the tracing of material socio-technical relations. As the
metaphor of the network has increased in popularity, particularly with the
rise of digitalised ICTs, network language and representation have been
increasingly used by people to articulate their relationships with one
another, such that analysis and phenomenon of networks can become
indistinguishable. How do platforms and their social relations sit with
this complex history of networks? To date, platforms have mainly been
approached as a phenomenon, rather than as a metaphor or an analytic for
social form. Yet, formally platforms build upon but also are, in important
ways, distinct from networks, most notably through their “programmable
space” that can be made to perform differently according to how external
networks engage. So just as networks indicate the importance of form for
understanding the socio-technical, the platform must also be approached as
a device that describes social forms or heuristic for understanding the
form of social relations. How can platforms be approached as material and
social organisational arrangements beyond the platform as a company? This
might incorporate empirical investigation of named platforms, but also
includes broader materialisations of the social forms of platforms.

Abstract submission:
Abstracts can be submitted until 29th February 2020 via 4S/EASSTs website,
using your personal login credentials. After you log in, click ‘Submit A
New Proposal’, and then ‘Papers For Open Panels’. Scroll down through
the list of open where you will find ‘Networks, platforms and the form of
the socio-technical’. Abstracts are limited to 250 words.

Please contact Lizzie ( or James ( if you have any questions.
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