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Attneave at Noon - Arbitrage: Coupon Queens, FBA Bros and the Gendered Work of Making an Online Marketplace with Moira Weigel

Thu April 20th 2023, 12:00 - 1:30pm
Event Sponsor
Clayman Institute for Gender Research
Carolyn Lewis Attneave House (589 Capistrano Way, Stanford, CA 94305)

In this series, the Clayman Institute for Gender Research welcomes gender scholars who are currently visiting campus to present their recent work and works-in-progress. Representing a range of disciplines and career stages, these informal lunches create a space for intellectual conversation about gender research and strengthen our feminist community.

This session will feature Professor Moira Weigel to discuss "Arbitrage: Coupon Queens, FBA Bros and the Gendered Work of Making an Online Marketplace."

Critical scholars have produced several powerful concepts to describe how digital intermediaries are reconfiguring relations between markets, social and private life, and the state. These include: surveillance, enclosure, and extraction. In this talk, Weigel proposes an alternative: arbitrage. Drawing on years of ethnographic research on transnational e-commerce, Weigel shows that participants in marketplaces including Amazon use this term as a way to understand their own identities, activities, and opportunities. In addition to naming an important form of platform-mediated labor that scholars have not yet described, Weigel argues that the figure of arbitrage enables us to conceptualize key aspects of digital capitalism that existing theories occlude. In particular, it foregrounds the role of space and spatialized inequalities in making digital markets while also centering the agency of intermediaries–and without pretending that this agency constitutes freedom.

All Stanford students and community members are welcome, with RSVP.

This event is co-sponsored by the Stanford Department of Communication.

About the Speaker:

Moira Weigel is an Assistant Professor of Communications Studies at Northeastern University, a Faculty Associate of the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard Law School, and a founder of Logic magazine. She is also the author of Labor of Love: The Invention of Dating (2016) and co-editor, with Ben Tarnoff, of Voices from the Valley: Tech Workers Talk About What They Do and How They Do It (2020), as well as a regular contributor to the Guardian, The New Republic, and The New York Times among other publications. She is currently working on a book about transnational e-commerce.