7 January 2020

Update: Young Scholars Workshop on Platformcoops

On 9 December, the Future of Citizen-based Initiatives (FOCI) hub and Institutions for Collective Action research team organised the 2019 Young Scholars Workshop on Platformcoops. Fourteen participants, including six PhDs, spent a full day discussing these new types of platforms that are owned and governed by its users instead of external investors.

Overall the workshop showed a lot of diversity in topics and academic disciplines, while also sharing a connecting framework that may best be labelled as ‘institutional’. This allowed the participants to exchange valuable comments and insights. It also links very well with the strategic theme Institutions for Open Societies of Utrecht University and underscores its importance for studying platform cooperativism.


Kicking off the workshop, a keynote by Prof. dr. Koen Frenken provided an institutional logics perspective on the gig economy and how platform co-operatives tie into this. Below an overview of the of PhD presentations:

  • Christian Flick from TU Berlin told about his research on the scaling logics of commercial and co-operative platforms in the field of ridehailing.
  • Morshed Mannan from Leiden University presented interdisciplinary perspectives on platform cooperativism from sociological role-set theory and alegality theory in law.
  • Damion Bunders from Utrecht University made a comparison between worker-owned labour platforms and traditional worker cooperatives to derive implications for collective action in the platform economy.
  • Vera Vidal from Open University of Catalonia discussed hers and Guillaume Compain’s (Université Paris-Dauphine) ethnographic fieldwork on the platform cooperativism movement in Europe and whether there might be a unified European model emerging.
  • Emma Bossuyt from KU Leuven, having just recently started her PhD, took a sustainable finance perspective and presented the possible directions of her research.
  • Lukas Lorenz from Utrecht University, also just started with his PhD, had a broader approach and asked how algorithmisation changes the regulatory landscape.

Last but not least, Thomas Blondeel from platform co-operative Smart in Belgium gave his reflections from a practitioner’s point of view.