Lab Platform Governance, Media and Technology (PGMT)

Session 6: Sarah T. Roberts – Behind “Behind the Screen”: On Doing Research That Companies Don’t Want Done

Sarah T. Roberts pioneered the field of empirical research on platform governance with extensive ethnographic work and interviews with workers from Silicon Valley to the Philippines, at boutique firms and at major social media companies, leading to the field-building monograph “Behind the Screen“. In her talk, Sarah will talk about her empirical work and the massive challenges of doing research that companies don’t want to be done.

Sarah T. Roberts, Ph.D. is an associate professor at UCLA (Gender Studies, Information Studies, Labor Studies), specializing in Internet and social media policy, infrastructure, politics and culture, and the intersection of media, technology and society. She is the faculty director and co-founder of the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry (C2i2), co-director of the Minderoo Initiative on Technology & Power, and a research associate of the Oxford Internet Institute. Informed by feminist Science and Technology Studies perspectives, Roberts is keenly interested in the way power, geopolitics and economics play out on and via the internet, reproducing, reifying and exacerbating global inequities and social injustice.

About the Series 

This talk is part of the series Behind the Scenes – Conversations on Empirical Platform Governance Research that invites scholars in this field to share their experiences and views, fostering  community exchange about how we can study platform governance in this challenging context. It is hosted by the Lab “Platform Governance, Media, and Technology” (PGMT) at the Centre for Media, Communication and Information Research (ZeMKI), University of Bremen, and the Centre for Media and Journalism Studies, University of Groningen.


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