Call for Papers: Special Issue of Socio-Economic Review

Call for Papers: “Understanding the Platform Economy: Socio-Economic Dynamics in new Digital Markets” (Special Issue of Socio-Economic Review)

Guest Editors

  • Elke Schüßler (Johannes Kepler University Linz)
  • Juliet Schor (Boston College)
  • Stefan Kirchner (Technical University Berlin)
  • William Attwood-Charles (Boston College)


Papers can be submitted immediately, but no later than 15 March, 2019. The targeted publication of the special issue is the July 2020 issue of Socio-Economic Review.


The rise of digital platforms challenges traditional approaches to the organization of markets, work, and consumption and suggests a new economic era some have called the “platform economy.” The aim of this Special Issue is to better understand the socio-economic dynamics structuring the platform economy, with a focus on new “sharing” and gig labor platforms.

Platforms for “crowdsourcing”, “gigwork” and “sharing economy” such as Upwork, Uber and Airbnb organize buyer-seller relations in digitally-enabled marketplaces. These new marketplaces challenge existing economic practices and regulatory standards, disrupting established markets and forcefully creating new ones. A central feature of these marketplaces is the use of algorithms to set and enforce rules that shape the provision of services and labor. Algorithmic “management” has elicited critiques of the growing power of platforms to determine dynamics of value capture and distribution. Platform “workers” also resist control through work practices, exit and collective action. Citizens, consumers and regulators are contesting platform activities via bans, boycotts and legislative action. The companies use their power to shape these new, contested markets, but the future for platform capitalism is as yet unknown.

Our aim in this special issue is to bring together organizational, consumer, worker and regulatory perspectives on the platform economy to shed a new light on emerging market structures as well as central lines of contestation. We aim not only to advance empirical understanding of this new phenomenon, but also to contribute to a more theoretically informed debate in this multi-disciplinary, multi-faceted field of research.

Key Themes

Platforms as Market Organizers:

  • What are platforms’ strategies for and practices of value creation and capture?
  • Taking different perspectives – local, national, and global: who benefits from what, when, and where in platform markets?
  • How are platforms’ dual role as drivers for inclusion and inequality played out on dimensions such as race, class, gender, disability or legal status?
  • Do viable alternative platform governance modes exist (e.g. platform cooperatives)?

User Experiences and Consumption Patterns:

  • How do platform goods and services differ from conventional business offerings?
  • Does platform consumption build social connection, as companies have claimed?
  • How are ratings and reputational systems working?
  • How do consumers’ motives and experiences vary by locality, nationality and global location?

Working in the Platform Economy:

  • What do we know about platform workers’ experiences, job satisfaction and sociability, and how are algorithms, rating systems and other novel platform features affecting these outcomes?
  • Is platform work altering career trajectories?
  • Which forms of collective representation and resistance are workers engaging in?

Contested Markets as a Challenge for Regulatory Actors and Established Institutions:

  • Is there a new regulatory role for digital intermediaries and how are they engaging with traditional regulatory actors?
  • Is trust serving as a regulatory mechanism?
  • What is the role of social movements in the trajectory of platform capitalism?
  • How does the transnationality of platforms intersect with national or regional regulatory institutions?

We call for submissions that address one of these four themes and contain convincing conceptually grounded arguments in empirical (qualitative and quantitative) studies. We particularly encourage cross-national research and studies of this sector in emerging economies.


Papers will be reviewed following the journal’s normal double-blinded review process and criteria.  The maximum length of articles including references, notes and abstract is 10,000 words. Articles must be accompanied by an abstract of no more than 150 words. The main document has to be anonymous and should contain title, abstract, and strictly avoid self-references. Submissions should be directed through the on-line submission system:

For further guidelines on submissions and the editorial statement of the Socio-Economic Review, please visit our website at:

For further information for this Special Issue, please contact one of the Guest Editors: Will Attwood-Charles (, particularly if you have concerns about whether or not your paper fits the Special Issue.

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