From Performativity to Performances: Reconsidering Platforms’ Production of the Future of Work, Organizing, and Society


  • Kevin Woojin Lee New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business
  • Elizabeth Anne Watkins Princeton University Center for Information Technology Policy



platform, performance, performativity, technology, work, determinism


This essay takes as its starting point Gernot Grabher and Jonas König's (2020) piece, "Disruption, Embedded. A Polanyian Framing of the Platform Economy," and suggests focusing on how digital platforms are realized on the ground. We propose that the people experiencing platformization have a strong influence over the futures that platforms can evoke. To illuminate this interplay between people and platforms, we offer a taxonomy of three ways that people intervene in how platforms produce the future: innovation, articulation, and opposition. In doing so, we build on Grabher and König’s essay to enrich the analytical and predictive power of their framework. Moreover, we provide the beginnings of a theoretical framework of our own - namely, a sociology of people’s performances and their role in future-making - which we believe can contribute to ongoing discussions on the future of work and organizing.


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How to Cite

Lee, K. W., & Watkins, E. A. (2020). From Performativity to Performances: Reconsidering Platforms’ Production of the Future of Work, Organizing, and Society. Sociologica, 14(3), 205–215.