Platform Economies Research Network (PERN)

ADM+S launches collaboration with the Platform Economies Research Network (PERN)

Author Loren Dela Cruz
Date 2 November 2022

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making & Society (ADM+S) and the Platform Economies Research Network (PERN) are launching a collaboration focusing on the socio-technical bases of platform economies.

The collaboration is based on the conviction that social scientists must learn about the architectures and operations of digital technologies as a fundamental aspect of their research. Digital infrastructures are often investigated in ways that assume a divide between “the technical” and “the social.” In contrast, PERN articulates questions that bring the technical and the social into one frame. Through sustained collaboration, our goal is to gain new competencies and innovative methods for empirical research into core aspects of computational technologies and infrastructures that generate value.

ADM+S Centre Director, Professor Julian Thomas said “We are delighted to be working with PERN. This collaborative network has played a key international role in recent years in sharpening social science and humanities research into digital economies. Our Centre will benefit greatly from PERN’s capacity to bring extraordinary researchers together across disciplines and continents. We share PERN’s orientation towards new methods and new subject matter, and the ambition to work across the social and technological boundaries.”

PERN is international and interdisciplinary with members spanning the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and East Asia; and includes scholars from anthropology, economic sociology, historical studies, information science, political science, and media studies.

PERN members conduct programmatic research on a variety of digital platforms and processes to gain insight into how data becomes a value form. These platforms include information infrastructures and computational technologies (eg. cloud-based services); new financial technologies (eg. fintech); and emerging practices for automated pricing, taxation, and risk assessment.

“PERN was founded in New York at The New School in 2018 as a reading group focused on works-in-progress related to different aspects of platform economies. Over the past years, we’ve developed into an international network that collaborates on research into a variety of digital platforms and processes to gain insight into the diverse ways that data becomes a value form,” said Professor Janet Roitman, co-founder and director of PERN.

PERN host regular online meetings that are devoted to open-ended discussion of works-in-progress including members’ fieldwork materials, research findings, recent publications, as well as industry reports and analyses from computing, management studies, and business administration. They also run a regular live-streamed Salon series that seek to foster exchange between academia and industry.

A series of workshops and a summer intensive program will launch in 2023.

Learn more about PERN by visiting platformeconomies.net.