Work packages

Through a transdisciplinary and multilevel methodological approach, the INCA project will fulfil the envisioned work plan, organised in work packages (WP).  The workflow explained in the Approach section matches the work packages’ arrangement, as each action to be carried out in the intersection between the workflows (theoretical research, empirical research and participatory actions) and the three spheres that will be covered (politics, economics and culture) represents a work package.

Thus, nine work packages will define the core research work of the project, and apart from those, additional work packages will be devoted to dissemination and communication activities and the Think Tank; coordination and management and ethics requirements

The aim of WP1 is to elaborate a robust and innovative historical paradigm for interpreting the shifting relationships between industrial revolutions (first, second, third and 4.0) and democratic institutional configurations. It will also develop a historical and theoretical background concerning the relationship between State democracies and the economy through the lens of technology. It aims to focus on the relationship between Capitalism and States in Eastern and Central Europe since the 1990s.

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The objective of WP2 is to position platforms as the hegemonic organizational form in contemporary capitalism. It will derive a structural understanding of hegemonic platform governance, identifying antecedents (technology, growth pressures, financialization) and effects (mergers and acquisitions, labour power, economy democracy).

This WP aims to trace the historic lineage of platforms that led them to become an organisational model in contemporary labour and capitalism.

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The general objective of WP3 is to investigate the narrative that captures the social and political self-image that big-tech companies project in their public discourse, as well as to understand the impact this corporate communication has on citizens’ perception of the companies’ role in society and political processes.

It will analyze specific discursive political strategies of big tech by uncovering their framing of the Digital Market Act and Digital Service Act.

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The main aim of WP4 is to assess the real political influence of big-tech corporations on the political process of the European Union, including the analysis of their influence in the implementation and interpretation of laws once adopted.

The objective is to elaborate an original measure of the contestability of political markets and to apply the measure to comparatively assessing European political markets. It will also elaborate proposals for monitoring the negative externalities of big-tech corporations’ political activity.

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The WP5 aims to analyse the infrastructural role of GAFAM products, services and practices modelling the specificities of the platformisation of work and its extension to other forms of work organisations.

It will study the existing and past forms of resistance and collective action in platformed modes of work organisation as well as the initiatives of public institutions on the regulations of platformed modes of work coordination while identifying its limits and areas of national and transnational regulatory intervention.

The objective is to assess the social, economic and political impacts of platformed modes of economic coordination and work organisation, considering a territorial and intersectoral perspective.

It will also elaborate recommendations to instil greater democratic modes of governance within the platform economy and foster greater corporate accountability over labour conditions.

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The main activity in this WP will be to develop, conduct and analyse the results of a survey in 15 EU countries, to examine public perception of the responsibility and accountability of big-tech corporations in democratic processes, their perceived corporate image, and levels of public trust.

In addition, it will assess to what extent citizens’ perceptions of big-tech companies are attributable to country-specific cultural (WP3), political (WP4) and economic (WP5) context.

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This WP will create three Open Innovation Labs at the city level in three European cities (Bologna, Bucharest and Barcelona) to involve citizens and stakeholders in identifying the key challenges at urban and European levels relating to how big-tech corporations’ political action transforms institutional and social assets.

In addition, it will engage in a dialogue with urban stakeholders to develop creative thinking for the development of new social policies and institutional nexuses for dealing with the disruptive effects of big-tech corporations and proposing alternatives.

This work package will also raise awareness among the citizens on topics related to big data management, and the impact of big-tech corporations on the social, cultural and economic environments. It will elaborate original proposal for dealing with the disruptive effects on the politics of big-tech corporations and proposals for new institutional architectures and urban policies.

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The main objective of the WP8 is to understand the wide range of corporate governance dimensions and factors to be considered for achieving social justice, responsibility, and fairness.

This WP aims to identify and detail viable alternative business models in the platform economy, and to assess the transferability of recommendations and codes of conduct for institutional reforms within organisations.

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WP9’s objective is to boost the societal and educational impact of the project. On the one hand, an educational module for schools will be developed, tested and launched. On the other hand, two dissemination materials will be produced with the results collected in WP 1-6: a video documentary on the impact of big-tech companies on European societies and an exhibition.

This will involve experimenting with innovative ways for citizens in critical knowledge co-creation as well as empowering young European citizens in dealing with the challenges of digital platforms and in trusting democratic institutions.

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The principal purpose of this WP is to ensure effective internal and external communication and knowledge transfer, as well as raise awareness about the risks and consequences of the uncontrolled hegemony of digital platforms in society.
In addition, WP10 will promote the project and ensure its visibility spreading and disseminating the knowledge generated and the results obtained in the project, all this with full gender-sensitive and inclusive attention.

One of the most important outcomes of this WP is the creation and launch of the INCA Think Tank, a permanent observatory of digital corporations and their political impact, a space for networking activities and organization of events.

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The main objective of WP11 is to ensure the effective management and technical coordination of INCA coordinating and supervising the project research and innovation activities to be carried out according to the work plan, also by monitoring and ensuring quality and timing of project deliverables.

It will carry out the overall administrative and financial management and reporting of the project, it will manage contacts with the European Commission and establish effective internal and external communication, will resolve the possible conflicts and it will manage the IPR related to the achieved results.

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The objective of WP12 is to ensure compliance with the ethics requirements that can arise throughout the project.