Knowledge and digital capitalism reading group is hosted by the Culture, Politics and Global Justice research cluster in collaboration with the Centre for Global Knowledge Studies at the University of Cambridge. The aim of the group is to engage in the discussion of different ways in which contemporary forms of knowledge production in the broadest sense – from education and research, to big data and algorithmic governance – interact and intersect with the creation of value in, and through, digital capitalism. The group builds on one-month intensive Platform capitalism reading group that met during Easter Term 2018.   

The group meets on (alternate) Tuesdays 4-6PM in term-time, Donald McIntyre Building 2S3 (2nd floor), 184 Hills Rd, Cambridge CB2 8PQ. This is about 15-minute walk from Cambridge train station, and a 20-minute walk from the historical centre of town (map).

It is open to all, regardless of background, education, or disciplinary affiliation, and no prior registration is necessary. The selection of readings aims to reflect recent publications on the topic; we always welcome suggestions for additions. Where possible, links are provided to online versions of readings available either for free or to University members via IDiscover/Raven; if you need access to any of these, get in touch and we’ll do our best to help.  

Questions should be addressed to Jana Bacevic, jb906@cam.ac.uk for Michaelmas and Lent, Mark Carrigan, mac228@cam.ac.uk for Easter.

Michaelmas 2018: Concepts, theories, ideas

16 October

Zukerfeld, M. 2017. Knowledge in the Age of Digital Capitalism, Chapter 1: Capitalism, Physical Property and Intellectual Property (1-30) and Chapter 2. How to Know Knowledge? Introducing Cognitive Materialism (31-52).

30 October

Moulier Boutang, Y. 2011. Cognitive capitalism. Cambridge: Polity (Chapter 3: What is cognitive capitalism?)

13 November

Langley, P. and Leyshon, A. 2017 ‘Platform capitalism : the intermediation and capitalisation of digital economic circulation.’, Finance and society, 3 (1). pp. 11-31.

Danaher, J, Hogan, M. et al. 2017. Algorithmic governance: Developing a research agenda through the power of collective intelligence. Big Data and Society, September 2017

27 November

Povinelli, E. 2016. “Downloading the Dreaming”, in Geontologies: A requiem to late liberalism, pp. 144-165 (also, for context: Introduction; The Three Figures of Geontology, 1-30, or: https://www.e-flux.com/journal/78/81514/geontologies-the-figures-and-the-tactics/ )

Lent 2019: Science, knowledge, research

22 January

Jasanoff, Sheila. 2004. Ordering Knowledge, Ordering Society. In States of Knowledge: The Coproduction of Science and Social Order, edited by Sheila Jasanoff, 13–45. London: Routledge.

5 February

Fochler, M. and Sigl, L. 2018. Anticipatory Uncertainty: How Academic and Industry Researchers in the Life Sciences Experience and Manage the Uncertainties of the Research Process Differently. Science as Culture 27 (3),

Pasquale, F. and Cashwell, G. (2017) Prediction, persuasion, and the jurisprudence of behaviourism. University of Toronto Law Journal. Vol 68 No 1.

19 February

Mirowski, P. 2018. The future (s) of open science. Social studies of science, 48(2), 171-203.

Elder-Vass, D. 2016. Profit and Gift in the Digital Economy, Chapter 7: Co-operative Peer Production: Wikipedia, pp. 144-170.

5 March

Birch, K., Tyfield, D. and Chiappetta, M. 2018. From neoliberalizing research to researching neoliberalism: STS, rentiership and the emergence of commons 2.0, in D. Cahill, M. Konings and M. Cooper (eds), The SAGE Handbook of Neoliberalism, London: SAGE.

Bacevic, J. and Muellerleile, C. 2018. Moral Economy of Open Access. European Journal of Social Theory, Vol. 21 No. 2, pp. 169-188

Muellerleile, C. 2017. Open access panacea: scarcity, abundance and enclosure in the new economy of academic knowledge production, in D. Tyfield, R. Lave, S Randalls and C. Thorpe (eds.) The Routledge Handbook of the Political Economy of Science, New York: Routledge.

Easter 2019: Education, technology and infrastructure

30 April

Grappling with the algorithmic system: Governance, Capitalism and Ethics. Will be distributed via e-mail.

The hidden architecture of higher education: building a big data infrastructure for the ‘smarter university’

14 May

Datafication, testing events and the outside of thought

The datafication of discipline

28 May

Reconceptualising critical digital literacy

Overcoming digital divides in higher education: Digital literacy beyond Facebook

11 June

Cruel optimism in education 

Silicon startup schools: technocracy, algorithmic imaginaries and venture philanthropy in corporate education reform