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A Platform Ecology of Creative Work

Thu, May 25, 19:30 to 21:30, Hilton San Diego Bayfront, Floor: 2, Indigo Ballroom B


I consider the subcultural sphere of crafting as a best case scenario for realizing the promise of digital platform technologies and creative work. The companies in this space, Etsy and Ravelry, are committed to social change as well as profit and most crafting expertise lies with people outside the privileged mainstream, particularly women and people of color. Understanding the problems that develop when the dream of crafting entrepreneurship meets the reality of day-to-day precarious labor, as well as how crafters respond to these challenges, is thus key to creating a broader picture of societal and economic change in the context of digital technologies. Building on Haraway (2016), I argue that crafters’ creative work on digital platforms must be conceptualized as an ecology, a sympoietic system rather than a collection of autopoietic cybernetic systems.