Digital platforms and territories

Call for proposals: Sciences Po’s Cities and Digital Technology Chair
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 International Conference, Paris, May 3rd 2018

The Sciences Po’s Cities and Digital Technology Chair, in partnership with the Center for
European Studies and Comparative Politics, organizes on May 3, 2018 an international conference
on “Digital platforms and territories”. Digital platforms, defined as intermediation and digital
services companies, have developed for few years into several urban policy sectors: transportation
(Uber, Lyft, Waze, Blablacar), housing and tourism (Airbnb), logistics (Amazon, Deliveroo), etc.,
disrupting the system of actors and their regulatory modes. This conference aims to interrogate the
relation between territories and these new actors of the digital economy.

Based on empirical investigation, the conference welcomes proposals from various social science
disciplines (political science, sociology, geography, economics, socio-technical studies, urban
planning, law, etc.) and could answer one or several of the three following axes.

1. Digital platforms and urban governance
To what extent digital platforms transform the urban governance? How have some of these actors
become major players of urban policies? Do they become ungovernable due to their digital
activities? What are the regulatory processes designed by national states and local governments?
Who are the actors contributing to contestation and/or regulation of these services? Do regulatory
tools directly target digital platforms or their users? On the other hand, how do digital platforms
lobby from some norms and rules? How do they mobilize their users as a political force to claim
for favorable regulations and legal changes? As a result, do we observe distinct localized modes of
governance of digital platforms’ activities?

2. The platforms’ strategies for setting up
This axis questions the local strategies of globalized digital platforms. What are the territorial
development strategies of digital platforms? Do they offer similar services all over the world or do
they adopt differentiated strategies depending on localities? To what extent local institutional
arrangements shape the market potential and the standardization of their services? What are the
local arrangements between platforms and public authorities?

3. Representations and practices of the space
What are the territorial impacts of the use of the services provided by these platforms? Platforms
are used in various ways: who are platforms’ users? To what extent some areas or social groups
are valorized or put aside? What part platforms’ digital services play in processes of

Submission deadline: February 20, 2018
Assessment of the proposals and choice: March 10, 2018
Conference: May 3, 2018 in Paris

The one-page proposals, either in French or English, should be sent to Antoine Courmont
( before February 20, 2018. They should set out the topic of the
paper, the research question, the methodology and the data used.

Antoine Courmont, post-doctoral researcher at the Sciences Po Centre for European Studies and
Comparative Politics
Patrick Le Galès, CNRS Research Professor of Sociology and Politics at the Centre for European
Studies and Comparative Politics, Dean of the Sciences Po Urban School

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