Polanyi, Callon, and Amazon: Institutionalist, ANT, and DRAN Approaches to Platform Economies


  • Koray Caliskan School of Design Strategies, Parsons School of Design, The New School, New York City http://orcid.org/0000-0001-9876-9405




Platform, Marketization, Economization, ANT, Polanyi


Drawing on a detailed analysis of Grabher and König’s study of platformization (Grabher & König, 2020), this essay develops a revision of Actor-Network Theory by proposing how a Device, Representation, Actor and Network or a DRAN Approach can be more helpful in making sense of platform economic processes. First, it locates the ways in which Grabher & König’s article approach platforms from an updated Polanyian perspective. Second, it elaborates on how the aforementioned article critiques static Polanyian perspectives while at the same time building a double tension by a) not being clear whether we observe "the platform economy" as an object or platform economization as a process, and b) not paying sufficient attention to how platforms that draw on intangible materialities move beyond being mere marketization relations. Third, it presents how to address these tensions by drawing on novel theoretical advances of DRAN Approaches and fresh empirical research concerning platform economies, located at the intersection between computer science and social sciences. Proposing a possibility to integrate historical and contemporary studies of economic processes, the essay ends by elaborating on how Grabher & König’s article has a potential to enable a multi-perspective dynamic research strategy in making sense of not only the contemporary working of platforms, but their historical and socio-technical condition of possibility.


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How to Cite

Caliskan, K. (2020). Polanyi, Callon, and Amazon: Institutionalist, ANT, and DRAN Approaches to Platform Economies. Sociologica, 14(3), 195–204. https://doi.org/10.6092/issn.1971-8853/11748