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Platform Capitalism (excerpts)

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Abstract

This book discusses the transformation of firms into platforms-companies providing software and hardware products to others-that has occurred in many economic sectors. This massive transformation resulted from switching capitalism into data, considering them as a source for economic growth and resilience. Changes in digital technologies contributed much to the relationships between companies and their workers, clients, and other capitalists, who increasingly began to rely on data. Dr. Nick Srnicek critically reviews "platform capitalism", putting new forms of the business model into the context of economic history, tracing their evolution from the long downturn of the 1970s to the economic boom of the 1990s and to the consequences of the 2008 financial crisis. The author demonstrates that the global economy was re-divided among a few of the monopolistic platforms and shows how these platforms set up new internal trends for the development of capitalism. © 2019 National Research University Higher School of Economics. All Rights Reserved.

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... Specifically, my purpose here is to critically explore how Apple Teacherthe free online digital learning platform of the US technology giant, Apple, Inc. (hereafter, 'Apple') -forges new market-and platform-based relations between otherwise unconnected schooling spaces and actors, and in ways that spill over the prefigured territorial boundaries of the nation-state. I bring together recent thinking around digital platforms (Gillespie, 2018;Gorwa, 2019;Srnicek, 2017) to explore how Apple Teacher creates opportunities to mediate the creation, circulation and consumption of new forms of teacher professional knowledge, and thereby helps constitute new forms of platform-based education governance. ...
... As this shift to networked modes of governance has become commonplace, the 'platform' has also emerged as an increasingly prominent and influential socio-technical phenomenon. By platform, I refer here to both a form of data infrastructure and a new kind of organisational form (Gillespie, 2018;Srnicek, 2017), in which a technical intermediary co-locates and facilitates exchanges between two or more actors or groups. Platforms also have the crucial ability to both provide and enforce how the content they host can be created, manipulated and distributed, which in turn shapes (via search algorithms, content moderation, interface design and commercial advertising) what information is (in)visible and what actions are (im)permissible for users. ...
... While this raises obvious concerns around who precisely is authorised to validate these new forms of professional expertise and practice (e.g., teaching professionals or edtech corporations), it also reflects the role of platforms in solidifying markets of exchange around schooling expertise and 'what works' evidence. Moreover, I would note here that successful platform operators who successfully promote 'effective' schooling practices stand to benefit from so-called 'network effects' (Srnicek, 2017), where the potential value and 'reach' of a platform increases exponentially as it attracts more users and tends towards market monopolisation. Such processes converge around what has been termed platform capitalism (Langley & Leyshon, 2017;Srnicek, 2017), in which platforms both constitute and benefit from the creation of digital markets, and through which various forms of capital (social, financial, symbolic) can circulate and be exchanged between users of the platform (Komljenovic, 2019). ...
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Although COVID-19 has intensified clear global trends towards the digitalisation of schooling and the increasing role of information technology in education, a less obvious consequence has been the shift to online professional learning for teachers themselves. Informed by an emerging critical literature of digital education platforms, this paper will explore how Apple Teacher – the digital learning platform of the US technology giant, Apple Inc. – forges new marketised and platformed relations between schooling spaces and actors. I argue that Apple Teacher helps Apple to maxi- mise its policy relevance, allowing it to leverage its global brand recognition to compellingly promote a particular vision of teacher knowledge and expertise.
... Regardless of the overall economic downturn, transnational platform corporations saw their revenues skyrocket (Lee, 2020;Murphy, 2021). "The 'winner takes it all' nature of platforms" (Barns, 2019, 7) leads to dominant, often monopolistic, platform corporations (Langley & Leyshon, 2017;Srnicek, 2016) that rely on their critical size to consolidate themselves by reaching into new economic areas (Grabher, 2020;Pais & platforms to define local non-corporate platforms as webpages that use their "architecture to leverage, catalyze, and harness distributed social action". Like digital participatory platforms, we understand local noncorporate platforms as a "specific type of civic technology explicitly built for participatory, engagement and collaboration purpose" (Falco & Kleinhans, 2018). ...
... Transnational platform corporations present themselves as a type of organization that challenges the dominance of traditional "Fordist" corporations but are in fact, mere corporations that restructure markets by removing conventional worker's and industrial sector's protections (Frenken & Fuenfschilling, 2020;Srnicek, 2016). In contrast to the traditional "Fordist" corporations, transnational platform corporations are "asset-light" and their value-creating processes depend on their technology-enabled matchmaking potential (Grabher & van Tuijl, 2020) which becomes the means of production in the economy of the 21st century (Schneider, 2018). ...
... This matchmaking potential rests on a corporate-owned platform technology that is created and maintained (and constantly improved) most efficiently at a trans-local scale by mobilizing massive amounts of data gathered on platform participants (i.e. "users") (Srnicek, 2016). Once a platform reaches critical size, the large quantities of gathered data reinforce a "winner takes it all"-effect (Barns, 2019;Langley & Leyshon, 2017). ...
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The Covid19-pandemic has accelerated processes in which digital platforms, privileged by their critical size, become central instances of urban life. While most scholars associate platform urbanism with transnational platform corporations, such as Amazon or Facebook, local non-corporate platforms unexpectedly persist despite lacking critical size. This article analyzes processes through which non-corporate platforms are created, maintained, disseminated, and locally implemented; given this type of platform's absence of critical size. We explain the persistence of local non-corporate platforms by drawing on the concept of embeddedness. Embeddedness accounts for non-market-based, i.e. socially and culturally influenced behavior, that shapes economic interactions. We distinguish between network embeddedness, in which organizations maintain permanent and exclusive relationships with one another, and local embeddedness, which combines Hess' (2004) notions of societal embeddedness and territorial embeddedness. This article is empirically grounded on an analysis of two most different ways of creating and maintaining, disseminating, and locally implementing non-corporate platforms: Platform cooperativism and free/libre open-source software-based platforms (FLOSS-based platforms). Two empirical case studies of collaboratively governed Western-European non-corporate platforms, Gebiedonline and Decidim, respectively inform the analysis of platform cooperativism and FLOSS-based platforms. Gebiedonline is a platform cooperative through which neighborhood and theme-specific platforms are created. Decidim is a FLOSS-based platform that is mainly used for civic and political participation processes. We find that governments and civil society stakeholders create non-corporate platform technology by disentangling processes related to the creation, maintenance, and dissemination of platform technology from platform implementation processes. Following platform creation, platform maintenance is embedded in a network. Non-corporate platforms pool cost-intensive technology maintenance, while platform implementation necessarily takes place in a locally embedded manner.
... WWF BRASIL(2003)pouco tempo depois apontava as redes sociais como estruturas não-lineares onde acontece o estabelecimento de relações horizontais de cooperação. Aliado a estes pensamentos,Srnicek (2017) apontará as plataformas digitais como infraestruturas que permitem a interatividade entre indivíduos e grupos, se encaixando em modalidades como redes sociais, plataformas de criação, e-mails, entre outras.É importante frisar que o aumento do acesso às redes sociais e plataformas digitais não garante o pleno conhecimento a respeito de suas funcionalidades, fazendo com que um grande número de pessoas e empreendimentos não realizem, com eficiência, o uso completo das plataformas de redes sociais. ...
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Com as restrições sociais causadas pela pandemia da Covid-19 e a necessidade de adaptação dos pequenos negócios, prestadores de serviços e produtores rurais ao cenário limitador apresentado, este trabalho promoveu ações na busca pela inserção digital destes empreendimentos nas cidades de Acaiaca e Diogo de Vasconcelos, com o objetivo de aumentar a visibilidade destes negócios e, consequentemente, possibilitar a elevação de seus faturamentos. Para o alcance destes objetivos foram desenvolvidos materiais didáticos em formato de cartilhas educativas, com recursos audiovisuais, além de terem sido oferecidas e realizadas mentorias voltadas aos conteúdos destes materiais. Os resultados mostraram que a utilização das plataformas digitais para o uso pessoal é comum, porém, para o uso comercial, existe uma lacuna pouco explorada pelos pequenos empreendedores.
... This process helps to understand the emergence of new working conditions within platform economies or gig economies in recent years. The platforms economies can be described, in general terms, as companies based on digital infrastructures (platforms) that operate by connecting, through algorithmic technologies, the demand for a service with its supply (Srnicek, 2016). This intermediary character between offer and demand gives these platforms their claim to neutrality, i.e., to belong neither to the sphere of production nor to that of consumption and, crucially, to avoid being labelled as employers. ...
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Production in knowledge and data‐intensive industries is powered by work that can, in theory, be done from anywhere, via cloudwork platforms. Cloudwork platforms govern data value chains in distinct ways to concentrate power and extract value at the global scale. We argue that unpaid labour is a systemic mechanism of accumulation in these digital value networks. In this paper we demonstrate how it is tied to platform business models and facilitated by elements of platform governance including monopsony power, a high degree of spatial flexibility in sourcing labour, regulatory unaccountability and digital enclosure. We draw on a survey of 699 workers on 14 platforms in 74 countries to show that unpaid labour is an engine of South–North value extraction, and workers in the global South perform more unpaid labour than counterparts in the global North. Our findings have important ramifications our understanding of the changing international division of labour and platform capitalism.
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Chapter
Decision‐making processes are widespread and usually associated with actions as a means of achieving specific objectives. This could be the determination of operating points of industrial machines to maximize their outputs, the selection of the best route in the traveling salesman problem introduced in Chapter 5, or simply the decision to drink coffee before sleeping. This chapter will introduce different approaches to making decisions, being them centralized, decentralized, or distributed, and which are employed to govern actions based on informative data. In particular, we will discuss three different methodologies, namely optimization, game theory, and rule‐based decision. Our focus will be on mathematical and computational methods; examples from humans or animals are presented only as pedagogical illustrations, and thus, we ought to proceed with great care to avoid extrapolating such results.
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Recent years have seen enormous attention paid to automation and its potential implications for the future of work. This study rejects unhelpful speculation and, instead, poses the question ‘what is shaping automation and its predicted effects?’ In contrast to the technological determinism framing much of the current debate, this study utilises the social shaping of technology (SST) approach, a theoretically informed body of research largely overlooked by sociology of work scholars. Compared with mainstream commentary, which treats technology as separate from the social world, SST facilitates examination of how the development and use of technology are shaped by broader socioeconomic concerns and politics. The analysis presented is based on an understanding of how technology is shaped by existing technology, economics, social relations, gender and the state.
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This article explores the position of industrial Internet platforms (IIPs) in manufacturing value chains. We develop an understanding of the role of data in global value chains (GVCs), referring to literature on intangible assets and theories on platform business models. We use data from a qualitative empirical study based on 33 interviews on platforms active on the German market to answer (1) whether there are tendencies of oligopolization that lead to an accumulation of power on the side of the platforms, and (2) whether it is the platforms that capture most of the gains derived from higher productivity or lower transaction costs. The analysis shows that platforms mainly act as service providers and/or intermediaries that support manufacturing companies in reaping benefits from data. While the relationship between platforms and manufacturers currently corresponds to a symbiosis, a stronger power imbalance could evolve in the future since processes of oligopolization are likely.
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Digital platforms, such as Amazon, represent the major beneficiaries of the Covid-19 crisis. This study examines the role of digital platforms and their engagement in digitalisation initiatives targeting (small) brick-and-mortar retailers in Germany, thereby contributing to a better understanding of how digital platforms augment, substitute or reorganise physical retail spaces. This study applies a mixed-method approach based on qualitative interviews, participant observation as well as media analysis. First, the study illustrates the controversial role of digital platforms by positioning themselves as supporting partners of the (offline) retailers, while simultaneously shifting power towards the platforms themselves. Second, digital platforms have established themselves not only as infrastructure providers but also as actors within these infrastructures, framing digital as well as physical retail spaces, inter alia due to their role as publicly legitimised retail advisers. Third, while institutions want to help retailers to survive, they simultaneously enhance retailers' dependency on digital platforms.
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The term ‘platform capitalism’ captures a dynamic set of new work modalities that are mediated by platforms and have been brought about through advances in Information and Communication Technologies, adjustments in consumption modes and preferences, and changes in how work is conceived. Beyond work-related changes, the ascent of platform capitalism reflects wider societal, political as well as economic changes. While research on platform capitalism and its manifold manifestations abounds, there is a lack of consensus in the literature regarding its key features and characteristics. Seeking to provide conceptual clarity and to contribute to efforts of theorisation, we here analyse four main facets of platform capitalism, namely crowdsourcing, sharing economy, gig economy and platform economy. We review key definitions of each term and provide an overview of their distinctive features. This allows us to identify both similarities and differences in the framing of these four terms. We also delve into the ideologies underlying these four terms, thus providing a critique of the neophilia characterising the discourse framing platform capitalism.
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This article investigates the organisation of work under algorithmic control in the platform economy. Based on a 1-year ethnographic study conducted at top food-delivery platforms in China, this study finds two main mechanisms for organising labour under algorithmic management: the virtual organisation of labour and algorithm-driven labour process control. First, platform drivers are reorganised in an outsourced labour force, placed in application-based virtual-networked production under sophisticated technological infrastructure. Second, to habituate drivers to the virtual mode of production, food-delivery platforms utilise four algorithm-driven control techniques, which are identified as: smart machinery control, information monopoly, management by multi-stakeholders, and ‘carrots and sticks’. The findings highlight the process of algorithmic design in configuring a digital managerial ecosystem for platform governance and contribute to emerging debates on algorithmic management.
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This paper applies insights from global value chains (GVC)/global production networks (GPN) frameworks to explore the economic geographies brought into being by digital labour platforms. In particular, these perspectives facilitate analyses of power imbalances and value extraction across territories—an under-theorized aspect within platform studies. We theorize this dynamic by introducing the descriptor ‘digital value network’ (DVN): a digitally mediated nexus of platform operations that produce and distribute value between territories, on the basis of labour transactions. Empirically, we draw on a multi-year action research project, assessing the operations of platforms and the experiences of platform workers in 54 countries. Our analysis highlights that platforms as lead firms extend GVC/GPN logics of coordination and drivenness in DVN to (i) optimize production capabilities while externalizing ownership and costs, (ii) accumulate both monetary and non-monetary forms of value, and (iii) concentrate power at the global scale in both existing and new sectors.
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Virtual Reality (VR) represents an emerging class of spatial computing technology reliant upon the capture and processing of data about the user (such as their body and its interface with the hardware), or their surrounding environment. Much like digital media more generally, there are growing concerns of who stands to benefit from VR as a data-intensive form of technology, and where its potential data-borne harms may lie. Drawing from critical data studies, we examine the case of Facebook’s Oculus VR—a market leading VR technology, central to their metaverse ambitions. Through this case, we argue that VR as a data-intensive device is not one of unalloyed benefit, but one fraught with power inequity—one that has the potential to exacerbate wealth inequity, institute algorithmic bias, and bring about new forms of digital exclusion. We contend that policy to date has had limited engagement with VR, and that regulatory intervention will be needed as VR becomes more widely adopted in society. © 2021, Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society. All rights reserved.
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How platform companies act as intermediaries between precarious workers and consumers has received critical attention in terms of the way companies exploit those who work for them and the ambiguity they create in the labor market. We study how male drivers, or “brothers,” in an intermediary platform that provides ride-hailing services in Vietnam discuss their work and lives on social media. We analyze how men experience getting stuck, not achieving their desired dignity, and being exploited, and how they enact masculinity through sharing emotions such as despair, anger, and shame in dealing with their experiences. We argue that this extends understanding of how platform capitalism is experienced by men in the Global South where many low-skilled jobs have always been precarious, but platform companies offer hope and dreams of freedom and prosperity. How men cope with broken dreams, grapple with challenges to their sense of masculinity, and seek to retain a sense of agency are important questions today.
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This paper reports on the findings of an empirical study of the street-level visual spatialities of urban platforms in three Canadian cities: Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal. Enumerating, typologizing, and spatially analyzing incidences of platforms in these three cities, we find platforms to be concentrated in neighbourhoods classified as “gentrified,” “gentrifying,” and “gentrifiable,” while being largely absent from established affluent enclaves. We theorize the significance of these spatialities in three ways. First, we suggest that the emplaced visibility of platforms functions to cue expenditures of digital spatial capital—the ability to stake claims to space through engagements with digital technologies—in neighbourhoods where these platformized materialities are visually encountered. Second, we argue that these expenditures of spatial capital are associated with the ways in which platforms glamorize mundane urban consumption practices (the aestheticization of consumption) while decoupling acts of consumption from face-to-face interaction (the anaestheticization of social relations). And third, we identify propositions for how these an/aesthetic dynamics may potentially influence the further densification of platforms on city streets in transitioned (gentrified) and transitional (gentrifying and gentrifiable) urban enclaves. © 2021 Canadian Association of Geographers / L'Association canadienne des géographes
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Abstract. Digital platforms have become an integral part of modern business. Their success largely depends on how effectively the management team builds relationships with other platforms and stakeholders. However, many aspects of this interaction remain poorly studied. The paper aims to identify stakeholders and their interests that have the most profound effect on various types of business platforms. Stakeholder approach constitutes the methodological basis of the study. The main research method is qualitative and quantitative content analysis. The information base includes over 19,000 news texts from the largest news agencies for the period from April 1, 2020 to May 1, 2021, selected according to the platform typology used (advertising, cloud, food, lean platforms and marketplaces). As demonstrated in the study, “other” platforms, society and the state are most frequently mentioned among stakeholders. Having analyzed the texts referencing to “other” platforms, we found that the platform market was an ever-growing monopoly of several large players, while cloud and lean platforms were often mentioned together. The au�thor proves the assumption that the world’s leading platforms usually share a common destiny (the impact of other stakeholders or environment on several platforms). Most platforms (excluding cloud platforms due to the specifics of their activities) are char�acterized by similar cooperation and competition values, which indicates the presence of coopetition. The research into public attitudes towards platforms revealed the predominance of neutral texts. However, negative messages prevail among emotionally colored messages, which indicates society’s precautious position to digital platforms. Keywords: digital platform; stakeholders; stakeholder approach; coopetition; content analysis.
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Few topics are more often discussed than surveillance, particularly in the context of surveillance technologies that reflect structural inequities. There is space, however, to bring more discussion of surveillance tech into the library literature. At the same time, literature on digital surveillance and associated systems such as Big Data, surveillance capitalism, and platform capitalism often discuss these phenomena as if they are novel rather than iterations of long‐standing inequitable circumstances. We propose that a dialogue between surveillance literature and critical library literature will benefit both areas: theories from the surveillance domain can strengthen examinations of structural oppression in libraries while theories from critical library literature can strengthen acknowledgment of surveillance techs' historical roots. Moreover, overlap exists between concepts used in surveillance and library literature, including concerns about neutrality and classification practices. Therefore, after reviewing surveillance theories and their applicability to libraries, we demonstrate how these scholarly areas may strengthen each other, with three major consequences: (a) moving library literature beyond considerations of the panopticon in favor of the surveillant assemblage; (b) recognizing that surveillance tech is a hyper‐visible form of historical oppression; and (c) acknowledging that the library ethos is critical to any fight for justice within information science.
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Czarniawska's book may seem to be quite a challenge for several reasons: the author's trademark "crossing genre boundaries" requires a reader to pay attention and stay confident; the outward simplicity of narrating organizational change stands on sophisticated philosophical, sociological, and philological grounds; and the language is eclectic but brilliantly puts together new empirically grounded and older, well-known theoretical concepts. Czarniawska tells a story of the Swedish public sector's reorganization with the accuracy of an academic and the eloquence of a narrator-institutions become apparent in their activities, as they are based on action, which is depicted by the coined term action nets. In a sense, the reader should be attentive and "follow the words". Though imagination is also a precondition, as the light but solid and convincing narrative constructions are open to further "translation" (in a hermeneutic and actor-network sense). © 2019 National Research University Higher School of Economics. All Rights Reserved.
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This article investigates cultural forms of class bias in the middle-income U.S. labor market. Results from an audit study of employment discrimination in four U.S. cities reveal that cultural signals of class, when included in résumés, have a systematic effect on the callback rates of women applying to customer-facing jobs. For these women, displays of highbrow taste—the cultural signals of a higher-class background—generate significantly higher rates of employer callback than displays of lowbrow taste—the cultural signals of a lower-class background. Meanwhile, cultural signals of class have no systematic effect on the callback rates of male and/or non–customer-facing job applicants. Results from a survey-experimental study of 1,428 U.S. hiring managers suggest that these differing patterns of employer callback may be explained by the positive effect of higher-class cultural signals on perceptions of polish and competence and their negative effect on perceptions of warmth.
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In choosing and displaying news, editors, newsroom staff, and broadcasters play an important part in shaping political reality. Readers learn not only about a given issue, but also how much importance to attach to that issue from the amount of information in a news story and its position. In reflecting what candidates are saying during a campaign, the mass media may well determine the important issues – that is, the media may set the "agenda" of the campaign.
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Recently, the concept of issue ownership has attracted increasing attention by students of electoral behaviour as well as party competition. However, both the definition and measurement of issue ownership—often drawn from Petrocik’s seminal 1996-article—is unclear. This constitutes a serious drawback to the further development and understanding of issue ownership itself and its purported effects. The paper addresses these problems by, first, establishing a definition of issue ownership at the individual level. On this basis, the standard ‘which party is best at handling issue X’ measure of issue ownership is assessed. The analyses using experiments embedded in a nationally representative panel survey indicate that the measure lacks validity and is partially redundant. Consequently, its replacement with a better performing alternative is recommended.
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Humility is a core psychological process theoretically marked by low self-focus, secure identity, and balanced awareness of strengths and weaknesses. We began with a consensual definition of humility before theoretically unpacking it. First, using 25 samples and 2622 adults, we developed the Brief State Humility Scale, which demonstrates strong construct validity and good reliability, is sensitive to experimental manipulation, and is uncorrelated with social desirability. Second, using this measure, we replicated previously reported relationships involving interpersonal processes; revealed links between state humility and intrapersonal processes (e.g. affect, creativity, and personality); and demonstrated key theoretical differences between state humility and modesty. This framework highlights new avenues for humility research and suggests how humility plays a critical role in emotional experience.
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In light of the high incidence of rhino poaching in southern Africa, the African rhinoceros might become extinct in the wild in the near future. Scholars from a variety of disciplines have analysed drivers of illegal hunting and poaching behaviour in general terms. Existing scholarship on rhino poaching proffers a simplistic concurrence of interlinked drivers, including the entry of transnational organized crime into wildlife crime, opportunity structures and the endemic poverty facing people living close to protected areas. By engaging with the lived experiences and social worlds of poachers and rural communities, this article reflects on empirical evidence gathered during ethnographic fieldwork with poachers, prisoners and local people living near the Kruger National Park. It is argued that the socio-political and historical context and continued marginalization of local people are significant factors facilitating poaching decisions at the grassroots level. Green land grabs and the systematic exclusion of local people from protected areas, as well as the growing securitization of anti-poaching responses, are aiding the perception that the wild animal is valued more highly than black rural lives. As a consequence, conservationists and law enforcers are viewed with disdain and struggle to obtain cooperation. The article critiques the current fortress conservation paradigm, which assumes conflict-laden relationships between local people and wildlife. The accepted version is available on Researchgate. The published version is behind a paywall: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0011392116673210
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This article explores responses to the implementation of Russian sturgeon conservation policy in three fishing communities (in Dagestan, Kalmykia and the Volga River delta areas), along the Western and Northern coasts of the Caspian Sea. Enforcement of regulatory measures has led to complex socio-cultural responses. We show how social responses to conservation policy generate various forms of poaching. An analytical model of ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ forms of poaching is analyzed against three regulatory measures: introduction of specially designated fishing areas in Russia’s Caspian fisheries, border zone expansion and the ban on sturgeon fishing. We explain why in Kalmykia the policy led people to stop practicing hard forms of sturgeon fishing, while fishermen in Dagestan responded in a more complex manner by displaying resistance towards the new policies.
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A multi-sectorial regime of protection including international treaties, conservation and security measures, demand reduction campaigns and quasi-military interventions has been established to protect rhinos. Despite these efforts, the poaching of rhinos and trafficking of rhino horn continue unabated. This dissertation asks why the illegal market in rhinoceros horn is so resilient in spite of the myriad measures employed to disrupt it. A theoretical approach grounded in the sociology of markets is applied to explain the structure and functioning of the illegal market. The project follows flows of rhino horn from the source in southern Africa to illegal markets in Southeast Asia. The multi-sited ethnography included participant observations, interviews and focus groups with 416 informants during fourteen months of fieldwork. The sample comprised of, amongst others, convicted and active rhino poachers, smugglers and kingpins, private rhino breeders and hunting outfitters, African and Asian law enforcement officials, as well as affected local communities and Asian consumers. Court files, CITES trade data, archival materials, newspaper reports and social media posts were also analysed to supplement findings and to verify and triangulate data from interviews, focus groups and observations. Central to the analysis is the concept of “contested illegality”, a legitimization mechanism employed by market participants along the different segments of the horn supply chain. These actors' implicit or explicit contestation of the state-sponsored label of illegality serves as a legitimising and enabling mechanism, facilitating participation in gray or illegal markets for rhino horn. The research identified fluid interfaces between legal, illegal and gray markets, with recurring actors who have access to transnational trade structures, and who also possess market and product knowledge, as well as information about the regulatory regime and its loopholes. It is against the background of colonial, apartheid and neoliberal exploitation and marginalization of local communities that a second argument is introduced: the path dependency of conservation paradigms. Underpinning rhino conservation and regulation are archaic and elitist conservation regimes that discount the potential for harmonious relationships between local communities and wildlife. The increasing militarization of anti-poaching measures and green land grabs are exacerbating the rhino problem by alienating communities further from conservation areas and wild animals. The third argument looks at how actors deal with coordination problems in transnational illegal markets. Resolving the coordination problems of cooperation, value and competition are considered essential to the operation of formal markets. It is argued that the problem of security provides an additional and crucial obstacle to actors transacting in markets. The systematic analysis of flows between the researched sites of production, distribution and consumption of rhino horn shows that the social embeddedness of actors facilitates the flourishing of illegal markets in ways that escape an effective enforcement of CITES regulations.
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From Pablo to Osama is a comparative study of Colombian drug-smuggling enterprises, terrorist networks (including al Qaeda), and the law enforcement agencies that seek to dismantle them. Drawing on a wealth of research materials, including interviews with former drug traffickers and other hard-to-reach informants, Michael Kenney explores how drug traffickers, terrorists, and government officials gather, analyze, and apply knowledge and experience. The analysis reveals that the resilience of the Colombian drug trade and Islamist extremism in wars on drugs and terrorism stems partly from the ability of illicit enterprises to change their activities in response to practical experience and technical information, store this knowledge in practices and procedures, and select and retain routines that produce satisfactory results. Traffickers and terrorists "learn," building skills, improving practices, and becoming increasingly difficult for state authorities to eliminate. The book concludes by exploring theoretical and policy implications, suggesting that success in wars on drugs and terrorism depends less on fighting illicit networks with government intelligence and more on conquering competency traps-traps that compel policymakers to exploit militarized enforcement strategies repeatedly without questioning whether these programs are capable of producing the intended results. Copyright
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Although narrative analysis has made significant advances in organization and management studies, scholars have not yet unleashed its full potential. This review provides an understanding of key issues in organizational narrative analysis with a focus on the role of narratives in organizational stability and change. We start by elaborating on the characteristics of organizational narratives to provide a conceptual framework for organizational narrative analysis. We elaborate on three key approaches to narrative analysis on stability and change: realist, interpretative and poststructuralist approaches. We then review several topic areas where narrative analysis has so far offered the most promise: organizational change, identity, strategy, entrepreneurship and personal change. Finally, we identify important issues that warrant attention in future research, both theoretically and methodologically.
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Assessing species abundance and reproductive output is crucial for evaluations of population dynamics, conservation status and the development of management objectives. The Caspian seal Pusa caspica is a key predator in the Caspian Sea ecosystem and is listed as Endangered by the IUCN. Here we report on fixed-wing aerial strip transect surveys of the breeding population on the Caspian Sea winter ice field carried out in February, 2005-2012. Potential detection biases were estimated by applying a Petersen mark-recapture estimator to the counts from double photographic observations. We also tested for effects of weather conditions on count results, and for correlations between pup production and ice conditions and net primary productivity (npp). Fluctuations in pup production estimates were observed among years, ranging from 8200 pups (95% CI: 7130-9342) in 2010 to 34 000 (95% CI: 31 275-36 814) in 2005. Total adults on the ice ranged from 14 500 in 2010 to 66 300 in 2012. We did not detect significant associations between pup production and either ice summary data (ice season length and ice area) or npp. The observed inter-year variation may be partly due to underlying biological drivers influencing the fecundity of the population, although measurement errors arising from observation bias, plus variation in survey timing and weather conditions may also have contributed. Identifying the potential drivers of Caspian seal population dynamics will require extending both the survey time series and the quality of supporting data. However, inter-year fluctuations should still cause concern that the population may be vulnerable to environmental variability and ecosystem dynamics.
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Harbor seals and gray seals are sympatric phocid pinnipeds found in coastal waters of the temperate and sub-Arctic North Atlantic. In the Northwest Atlantic, both species were depleted through a combination of subsistence hunts and government supported bounties, and are now re-occupying substantial portions of their original ranges. While both species appear to have recovered during the past 2 decades, our understanding of their population dynamics in US waters is incomplete. Here we describe trends in stranding and bycatch rates of harbor and gray seals in the North East United States (NEUS) over the past 16 years through an exploratory curve-fitting exercise and structural break-point analysis. Variability in gray seal strandings in Southern New England and bycatch in the Northeast Sink Gillnet Fishery were best described by fitting positive exponential and linear models, and exhibited rates of increase as high as 22%. In contrast, neither linear nor exponential models fit the oscillation of harbor seal strandings and bycatch over the study period. However, a breakpoint Chow test revealed that harbor seal strandings in the Cape Cod, Massachu-setts region and harbor seal bycatch in the Northeast Sink Gillnet Fishery increased in the 1990s and then started declining in the early to mid-2000s. Our analysis indicates that ongoing variation in natural and anthropogenic mortality rates of harbor and gray seals in the NEUS is not synchronous, and likely represents diverging trends in abundance of these species as they assume new roles in the marine ecosystems of the region.
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What is the relationship between social stratification and arts participation? Because the barriers to both participation and consumption vary, the relationship between the social strata and arts participation may differ from the relationship between social strata and arts consumption. Using three pooled waves of the Taking-Part survey (N = 78,011), I estimate latent class and multinomial logistic models to examine the association between education, social status, social class, and income with patterns of arts participation. Five latent clusters are observed and both social status and social class are insignificantly associated with each cluster. In contrast, education remains strongly correlated with most forms of arts participation. These results indicate that arts participation, as a constituent part of ‘lifestyle’, is not primarily explained through social status or social class but rather through education.
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As agenda-setting theory moves toward its 50th anniversary, its productivity in the past and at present augurs a highly promising future. In this essay, the original theorists trace the development of agenda setting and identify seven distinct facets. They explore three of the seven facets—need for orientation, network agenda setting, and agendamelding—in greater detail because those are particularly active arenas of contemporary research. Grounded in more than 40 years of productive collaboration among the authors, this inaugural Deutschmann Scholars Essay offers numerous new ideas about recent trends in and future directions for agenda-setting theory and research. The three authors are all recipients of AEJMC's Paul J. Deutschmann Award for Excellence in Research recognizing a career of scholarly achievement. The Deutschmann scholars observed that this may well be the most original article they have ever written together.
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This article discusses how recent developments in the cognitive sciences, especialy the concept of schemata (organizing frameworks for understanding events), can illumine the practice of organization development. On the basis of a cognitive perspective, the authors discuss the relationship between organizational change and schemata, describing the following orders of change that might result from OD: first-order change, or incremental changes occurring within particular schemata already shared by members of a client system, second-order change, or modifications in the shared schemata themselves; and third-order change, or the development of the capacity of the client system to change the schemata as events require. To show how understanding the differences among orders of change can help clarify problems and solutions from an intervention, the authors discuss how a paternalism schema affected a particular quality of working life intervention. They conclude by suggesting implications of the cognitive perspective for OD practice and research
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This article examines the impact of UN-imposed sanctions on the stability of the Eritrean regime, with a focus on the reaction of the diaspora. It explores the transnational nature of Eritrean society and examines the history and structure of the Eritrean diaspora as well as its transformation since the political crisis of 2001. The article demonstrates that the government, as well as both its supporters and its opponents in the diaspora, have all instrumentalized sanctions for their own purposes. The government has used sanctions to rally supporters “around the flag”, calling on the diaspora to raise funds to negate their effect. By contrast, opposition activists have campaigned against the 2 percent “diaspora tax” levied by the government, arguing that it may be used for illicit military purposes in breach of the sanctions regime. In this sense, the sanctions have destabilized a core component of the regime's resource base. However, the failure of the diasporic opposition to organize a joint campaign to persuade host governments to outlaw the collection of the tax has undermined its efforts. Funds raised through the diaspora tax thus continue to flow into government coffers, playing a stabilizing role in spite of the UN sanctions regime.
Book
Ernst Troeltsch focuses his Protestantism and Progress on two main areas. First, he centers on the intellectual and religious situation, from which the significance and the possibilities of development possessed by Christianity might be deduced. This leads to an engaging historical investigation regarding the spirit of the modern world. Troeltsch argues that the modern world can only be understood in the light of its relation to earlier epochs of Christian civilization in Europe. He notes that for anyone who holds the opinion that in spite of all the significance that Catholicism retains, the living possibilities of development and progress are to be found on Protestant soil, the question regarding the relation of Protestantism to modern civilization becomes of central importance.Troeltsch also distinguishes elements in modern civilization that have proven their value from those which are merely temporary and lead nowhere. He gives the religious ideas of Christianity a shape and form capable of doing justice to the absoluteness of religious conviction, and at the same time considering them in harmony with what has actually been accomplished towards solution of the practical problems of the Christian life.A new introduction by Howard Schneiderman brings this monumental work into the twenty-first century, and explains why its ideas are more important than ever, one hundred years after its original publication.
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Modern organizations are no longer just formal rational entities for researchers - they have proved to have a culture, and their employees are real people. One way to hear those people's voices is listening to stories they tell. Storytelling in organizations uncovers internal events and their interpretations, allows revealing the hidden world of emotions, where there are power conflicts, interiorization (or denial) of values, and new order development. Three stories told by the employees of the "Russian Post" Moscow Head Office show the employees' perception of organizational change, launched by the managerial shift in 2013. Personnel changes, communication between the Head Office and periphery, as well as the interaction among the departments and with the Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation are viewed through the metaphors of "drama", "unmanaged organization" and "storytelling organization". A common phrase "Well, that's the Postal Service!" turns out to be much more complex and concealing a set of problems and processes, not all of which have yet been realized even within the organization.
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"The American Dream" is one of the most familiar and resonant phrases in our national lexicon, so familiar that we seldom pause to ask its origin, its history, or what it actually means. In this fascinating short history, Jim Cullen explores the meaning of the American Dream, or rather the several American Dreams that have both reflected and shaped American identity from the Pilgrims to the present. Cullen begins by noting that the United States, unlike most other nations, defines itself not on the facts of blood, religion, language, geography, or shared history, but on a set of ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence and consolidated in the Constitution. At the core of these ideals lies the ambiguous but galvanizing concept of the American Dream, a concept that for better and worse has proven to be amazingly elastic and durable for hundreds of years and across racial, class, and other demographic lines. Cullen then traces a series of overlapping American dreams: the quest for of religious freedom that brought the Pilgrims to the "New World"; the political freedom promised in the Declaration; the dream of upward mobility, embodied most fully in the figure of Abraham Lincoln; the dream of home ownership, from homestead to suburb; the intensely idealistic--and largely unrealized--dream of equality articulated most vividly by Martin Luther King, Jr. The version of the American Dream that dominates our own time--what Cullen calls "the Dream of the Coast"--is one of personal fulfillment, of fame and fortune all the more alluring if achieved without obvious effort, which finds its most insidious expression in the culture of Hollywood. For anyone seeking to understand a shifting but central idea in American history, The American Dream is an interpretive tour de force.
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The paper presents a quantitative assessment of sturgeon catches and related Caspian Seals’ by-catches of the illegal sturgeon fishery in the region of Dagestan and the Volga River Delta in Russia. The study uses semi structured interviews, direct observations and informal conversations to collect data and estimates that about 10,491 kg of sturgeons were caught with 788 seals of by-catch during 35 trips conducted by 15 boats in the period of 2013–2016. The results show that both IUU sturgeon catch and the rate of bycatch seals have not demonstrated significant change since 2013. However, the rates of seals by-catch have increased since the studies in 2008 – 2009 and may be recognized as the one of the biggest entanglements of pinnipeds as by-catch.
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Boys have been of central concern to cultural commentators such as Diane Abbott in recent years. Boys have been understood as either lagging behind girls and/ or dealing with the 'crisis of masculinity'. In this chapter the limits of who and what boys can be is explicated. By talking to a group of 14 year olds in focus groups, this chapter shows the importance of youth taste cultures as an everyday space through which gender is experienced. It shows that ideas of 'gender appropriate taste' and fear of being labelled 'Other' leads boys to make taste articulations that conform to dominant ideas of masculine behaviour. As a result of this, it shows that for younger teenagers, masculinity continues to be limited on the grounds of what is considered 'appropriate' for boys to like. © Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2014. All rights reserved.
Article
This paper reviews and critiques the origin and development of a new specialty in sociology, the sociology of social problems. While social problems long has been a topic of sociological attention, it is only since the work of Blumer and, most especially, Spector & Kitsuse in the early 1970s, that a theoretically integrated and empirically viable tradition of writing and research has developed. The central proposition of this tradition is that social problems are the definitional activities of people around conditions and conduct they find troublesome, including others' definitional activities. In short, social problems are socially constructed, both in terms of the particular acts and interactions problem participants pursue, and in terms of the process of such activities through time. The founding theoretical statements are reviewed and the research is discussed in terms of the following categories: containing trouble and avoiding problems; the creation, ownership, and processing of problems; public regulatory bureaucracies and legal institutions; medicalizing problems and troubles; and social problems and the media. The paper closes with an overview of problems and insights of the perspective. There is a bibliography of 105 items.
Book
Comprehensive and accessible, this Companion addresses several well-known themes in the study of Franklin and his writings, while also showing Franklin in conversation with his British and European counterparts in science, philosophy, and social theory. Specially commissioned chapters, written by scholars well-known in their respective fields, examine Franklin's writings and his life with a new sophistication, placing Franklin in his cultural milieu while revealing the complexities of his intellectual, literary, social, and political views. Individual chapters take up several traditional topics, such as Franklin and the American dream, Franklin and capitalism, and Franklin's views of American national character. Other chapters delve into Franklin's library and his philosophical views on morality, religion, science, and the Enlightenment and explore his continuing influence in American culture. This Companion will be essential reading for students and scholars of American literature, history and culture.
Article
How do criminals communicate with each other? Unlike the rest of us, people planning crimes can't freely advertise their goods and services, nor can they rely on formal institutions to settle disputes and certify quality. They face uniquely intense dilemmas as they grapple with the basic problems of whom to trust, how to make themselves trusted, and how to handle information without being detected by rivals or police. In this book, one of the world's leading scholars of the mafia ranges from ancient Rome to the gangs of modern Japan, from the prisons of Western countries to terrorist and pedophile rings, to explain how despite these constraints, many criminals successfully stay in business.Diego Gambetta shows that as villains balance the lure of criminal reward against the fear of dire punishment, they are inspired to unexpected feats of subtlety and ingenuity in communication. He uncovers the logic of the often bizarre ways in which inveterate and occasional criminals solve their dilemmas, such as why the tattoos and scars etched on a criminal's body function as lines on a professional r sum , why inmates resort to violence to establish their position in the prison pecking order, and why mobsters are partial to nicknames and imitate the behavior they see in mafia movies. Even deliberate self-harm and the disclosure of their crimes are strategically employed by criminals to convey important messages.By deciphering how criminals signal to each other in a lawless universe, this gruesomely entertaining and incisive book provides a quantum leap in our ability to make sense of their actions.
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Global warming skeptics often fall back on the argument that the scientific case for global warming is all model predictions, nothing but simulation; they warn us that we need to wait for real data, “sound science.” In A Vast Machine Paul Edwards has news for these skeptics: without models, there are no data. Today, no collection of signals or observations—even from satellites, which can “see” the whole planet with a single instrument—becomes global in time and space without passing through a series of data models. Everything we know about the world’s climate we know through models. Edwards offers an engaging and innovative history of how scientists learned to understand the atmosphere—to measure it, trace its past, and model its future.
Article
The Volga-Caspian basin, once the largest habitat of sturgeon species, became a hotbed of wildlife crime in the 1990s. With the rising demand for caviar in various parts of the world, caviar trafficking has grown to unprecedented levels, having put Caspian sturgeons under the risk of absolute extinction. Two decades later, as the Caspian sturgeon populations have been radically depleted, North American supplies of sturgeon species are targeted by criminal masterminds as an alternative illicit source of black caviar. This article identifies some of the trends in the development of the illicit market in black caviar. The analysis utilizes the idea of criminogenic asymmetries developed by Nikos Passas to examine the dynamics of and the driving forces behind this illicit market. Beyond the application of Passas’ framework, the article offers a detailed descriptive analysis of poaching activities and caviar trafficking schemes based on data retrieved from public reports, court files, news media and interviews with officials and journalists.
Article
Does the experience of cultural consumption have its own sui generis attraction and value in itself, or is it an index of external social ranking? Four criteria are proposed that are observable in microsociological detail: (1) bodily self-absorption in the cultural experience, creating an intense internal interaction ritual; (2) collective effervescence among the audience; (3) Goffmanian front-stage self-presentation in settings of cultural consumption; and (4) verbal discourse during and around the cultural experience. Data from highly committed opera fanatics in Buenos Aires are used to document the extreme pole of cultural consumption that rejects external social hierarchies in favor of pure musical experience. This individualized and internal style of music consumption resembles religious mysticism, and what Weber in his typology of orientations to religious experience called virtuoso religiosity, as distinct from typical social class orientations to religion and to music.