About PGG

Online platforms have penetrated our societies and become the infrastructural services of our time.  Their impact on the political, economic, and cultural dimensions of life is profound and bound to increase, offering great promise yet posing risks.

The Platforms, Governance and Global Society (PGG) programme mainly focuses on two issues:

  1. The rise of online platforms as infrastructural services and their political, economic, and cultural influence;

  2. Governance in an era of platforms and a changing world order. 

We aim to examine and explain the issues to which platforms give rise. For instance: what are the implications for news, journalism and freedom of speech? how do they affect and change the existing structures and what are the consequences? how are they to be controlled and governed?

Our study of platforms includes not only the US-based giants, such as Alphabet-Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft, but also the Chinese platform companies like Tencent and Alibaba. This approach will help to bridge the existing research on Western and Chinese platforms. At the moment, Chinese platforms are the closest comparable competitors to the US-based platforms in an economic sense, though currently their influence is mainly within China’s domestic market.

The other main area of research is governance. Governance refers to the setting and enforcement of standards with respect to an area of social activity. It covers social relations in all their forms: economic, political, and cultural.

Governance occurs at many levels: nationally, regionally, locally, and internationally. It takes varying forms: (1) governance by an empowered authority such as the state; (2) governance by agreement among several parties, a common feature at international and regional levels; (3) self-governance where the organization decides its own standards; and (4) more novel and emerging forms of governance, such as collaborative governance where two or more bodies, often very different in character and purpose, work together for mutual advantage.

The two core research areas are connected. Platforms pose new issues for governance, combining different models, drawing on but also undermining orthodox models. How to govern the new territory of technological innovation, especially powerful platforms situated between individual users and national governments, is an issue not only relating to the future of technology innovation, but also concerning the future of our economy and society.

Global society is the setting of our research. While we define global society as the totality of society, international, regional, national, and local, this programme has a special interest in the international perspective.

News
Events

The latest from Wolfson College

Aamer Sarfraz portrait photo
7 August 2020
Aamer Sarfraz appointed to the House of Lords

Wolfson congratulates Aamer Sarfraz on his appointment by The Queen as a member of the House of Lords.

George Smith portrait photo
5 August 2020
Professor George Smith Honoured by Royal Society

Congratulations to Professor George Smith, FRS, who has been awarded the Armourers & Brasiers' Company Prize 2020

Balcony view from the Harbour lawn
8 July 2020
Refurbishment of the balcony

This project has been given the go-ahead as part of the Estates Strategy to improve our College buildings and environment.

Our upcoming events

Parties and Dinners
12 - 12
Sep Sep
Degree Day
Saturday 12 September - 11:00am to 3:30pm

Preceding the degree ceremony in the Sheldonian Theatre at 14:30, the College hosts the Signing of the Graces and a celebratory reception for our graduands and their family and friends. This event is by invitation only; please see the degree days page on our website for further information. 

Lectures and Seminars
05 - 05
Nov Nov
Margaret Oliphant and Oxford
Thursday 5 November - 1:30pm

Merryn Williams is a poet and critic. Her latest works are The Fragile Bridge: New and Selected Poems (Shoestring Press) and Mansfield Park Revisited (Plas Gwyn Books). At present she is collecting poems about the pandemic and the lockdown. Merryn is a long-standing member of Wolfson's Common Room.

Parties and Dinners
14 - 14
Nov Nov
Degree Day
Saturday 14 November - 11:00am to 3:30pm

Preceding the degree ceremony in the Sheldonian Theatre at 14:30, the College hosts the Signing of the Graces and a celebratory reception for our graduands and their family and friends. This event is by invitation only; please see the degree days page on our website for further information.