Platform Economics

Nina Pohler
Arts and Society, Cross-Disciplinary Strategies
2020W, scientific seminar (SEW), 4.0 ECTS, 2.0 semester hours, course number S03634


The Platform Economy is a term used to describe business models and related socio-economic relations that rely on (digital) platforms. The most famous platform firms include Google, Amazon and Airbnb. The platform economy raises new questions regarding property and labor relations, (big) data, privacy and surveillance, democracy, as well as the environmental impacts of digital infrastructures. In this course we will cover the historical genesis, development and implications of the platform economy from a socio-economic perspective.


Based on a broad understanding of what the economy actually entails, we will cover the basics of ‚platform economics‘ in the first part of this course. The main text we will use is Nick Srnicek‘s „Platform Capitalism“ which explains the rise of the platform economy in relation to the broader history of capitalist development and digital technology. This main text will be supplemented by short texts, as well as videos, that further elaborate on basic concepts and ideas in relation to the platform economy.



Examination Modalities

Participation in each session is mandatory. You are expected to arrive prepared by having completed
the assigned reading for the week and having answered a couple of reading response questions
(30%). Grades are also based on active participation in class discussion (20%) and a group
presentation (25%). Students have the option to further develop a theme from the course for the
CDC Lab, or else, write a short reflections essay (max. 2 500 words) in which questions and ideas
for the second semester are elaborated (both 25%).


This course will be held online.

Key Words

platform economy, platform capitalism, digital transformation, economic sociology


14 October 2020, 10:15–11:45
21 October 2020, 10:15–11:45
28 October 2020, 10:15–11:45
04 November 2020, 10:15–11:45
11 November 2020, 09:00–19:00, "Midterms CDC Lab"
18 November 2020, 10:15–11:45
25 November 2020, 10:15–11:45
02 December 2020, 10:15–11:45
09 December 2020, 10:15–12:45
16 December 2020, 10:15–12:45
13 January 2021, 10:15–12:45
20 January 2021, 10:00–18:00, "Finals CDC Lab" (examination)
21 January 2021, 10:00–18:00, "Finals CDC Lab" (examination)

Course Enrolment

From 04 September 2020, 12:00
The online registration was already closed

co-registration: possible

Cross-Disciplinary Strategies (Bachelor): Deepening / Application

Individual courses: possible