Niels van Doorn is an Assistant Professor of New Media and Digital Culture in the Department of Media Studies and the Principal Investigator of the ERC-funded Platform Labor research project (2018-2023). He holds PhD in Communication Science (2010) from the University of Amsterdam.
Current research: His research is guided by two main questions: how do people sustain themselves and each other in precarious circumstances?; and how does the notion of value come into being at the intersection of political and moral economies? These questions converge in his current Platform Labor research project, which investigates what has been variously called the “sharing”, “on-demand”, or “gig” economy. Digital platforms like Uber and Airbnb are transforming how people work, create and share value, and sustain themselves in their everyday lives. As such, platforms are becoming increasingly ubiquitous as new institutional actors that redraw relations between civil society, the market, and the state. Yet, as many scholars have shown, such relations have historically been shaped by pervasive gender, class, and racial subordination. It is therefore crucial to ask to what extent platforms, as new sites of capital accumulation, governance, and norm-making, remediate existing inequalities and if/how they also generate new vulnerabilities or tools for empowerment. Accordingly, the Platform Labor project aims to determine how digital platforms are reconfiguring the gendered, classed, and racialized organization of labor and social reproduction in post-welfare societies.