Sociologists Examine Hackathons And See Exploitation

March 20, 2018

Wired, 3.20.18

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Sociologists Examine Hackathons and See Exploitation

Wired, 3.20.18

One pair of sociologists recently examined hackathons and emerged with troubling conclusions. Sharon Zukin, professor of sociology at Brooklyn College and The Graduate Center, CUNY, spent a year observing seven hackathons, mostly sponsored by corporations, in New York City, interviewing participants, organizers, and sponsors. In a study called "Hackathons As Co-optation Ritual: Socializing Workers and Institutionalizing Innovation in the 'New' Economy," she and co-author Max Papadantonakis argue that hackathons create "fictional expectations of innovation that benefits all," which Zukin writes is a "powerful strategy for manufacturing workers" consent in the 'new' economy.