9 February 2022

Morten Axel Pedersen and Eva Otto visit ITU to present at TIP Salon

On the 9th of February, DISTRACT PI Morten Axel Pedersen and DISTRACT PhD Fellow Eva Otto each gave a talk at the ITU hosted TIP Salon. Run by the Technologies in Practice Group, the TIP Salon aims to critically engage with the field of Science and Technology Studies through discussion of selected readings and trending topics.

Morten’s talk:

Title: Studying and Theorizing the Political Economy of Attention in Denmark

Abstract: In this talk, I first present a brief overview of the ERC-funded research project DISTRACT – The Political Economy of Distraction in Digitized Denmark, whose main methodological ambition is to combine ethnographic and computational data and methods in novel ways. I then present some more theoretical reflections about the project’s overarching theme, namely, the role of the attention in the age of digital media and platform capitalism. Based on a critical examination of the underlying and often tacit premises behind the so-called “attention economy”, I explore whether the human attention should in fact always be conceived of as limited and thus as a scarce resource and a prized commodity.

Eva’s talk:

Title: Symbiosis or exploitation: Alignment work as forms of Techcraft

Abstract: Recently, scholars studying markets and digital platforms have argued that platform economies re-organize markets and market actors (e.g. Langley and Leyshon 2017; Kenny and Zysman 2019, Srnicek 2016), and centrally, extract value by turning digital traces into data that can be subjected to assetization (e.g. Fourcade and Healy 2017). One central, but as-of-yet under-described, actor of current digital markets are the small-scale software companies that play a significant role in creating and mediating digital traces, such as the app-company Monocle in Denmark. Such small-scale companies both  ‘build upon’ and ‘build for’ digital platforms. These private software companies on the fringe of - but essential for - the business models of Big Tech embody an ambiguous position in their daily workings in the app-industry, while conducting crucial work in the alignment and mediation of customers, corporations and small-scale software companies to make digital markets work and further transnational data economies. The nature of this work and their positioning in the “gap” between Big Tech and Danish traditional companies is my starting point from which to recast questions of how to understand the ‘newness’ of platform markets.

Eva presenting