Enclosure 4.0: Seizing Data, Selling Predictions, Scaling Platforms


  • Gernot Grabher Research Unit Urban and Regional Economics, HafenCity University Hamburg http://orcid.org/0000-0002-2911-9254




Platforms, Internet of Things (IoT), asset-light business model, datafication, Polanyi


Advance notice: Rather than a straight narrative, this is a roadmap, roughing out rather divergent pathways for the further exploration of platforms. The essay sets off by reiterating the agentic qualities of machinery for understanding the dynamics of platformization and elucidates the dialectical dynamics of (dis)embedded digital platform labor. Subsequently, the societal implications of the “asset-light” business model of platforms as well as of the framing of platform labor as independent entrepreneurship are explored. After perceiving datafication through the optic of assetization, the essay finally explores the platformization of manufacturing and agriculture and the morphing of the material and the digital in the Internet of Things (IoT). A somewhat restless journey, no doubt. But positioning the various pathways vis-à-vis Karl Polanyi’s stand should prevent us from losing orientation. 


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How to Cite

Grabher, G. (2021). Enclosure 4.0: Seizing Data, Selling Predictions, Scaling Platforms. Sociologica, 14(3), 241-265. https://doi.org/10.6092/issn.1971-8853/12107