Skip to content

Refractive Governance and Regulatory Risk Shift in Online Marketplaces

Hall of Languages, 421

Add to: Outlook, ICal, Google Calendar

Moira Weigel (Northwestern University, Data & Society)

In this talk I will share new empirical findings and conceptual frameworks from an ongoing qualitative study of Amazon’s third-party marketplace. My study is grounded in semi-structured interviews conducted in English and Mandarin with third-party merchants who use Amazon’s services to sell goods to customers in the United States; the merchants themselves are located in the US and Canada, China, Hong Kong, and Singapore (n = 46). Drawing on their accounts, I will first offer a broad overview of Amazon’s retail platform. Then, I will develop the concepts of “refractive governance” and “regulatory risk shift.” The first concerns how Amazon “tracks things to train people.” The second describes how the automated systems that Amazon uses to self-regulate produce new kinds of computer-mediated risk and push them outward.


Research Support


Lectures and Seminars



Open to


Students, Graduate and Professional


MAX-Public Administration and International Affairs


Johannes Himmelreich


Contact Johannes Himmelreich to request accommodations

Exterior of Maxwell in black and white when there was no Eggers building

We’re Turning 100!

To mark our centennial in the fall of 2024, the Maxwell School will hold special events and engagement opportunities to celebrate the many ways—across disciplines and borders—our community ever strives to, as the Oath says, “transmit this city not only not less, but greater, better and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us.”

Throughout the year leading up to the centennial, engagement opportunities will be held for our diverse, highly accomplished community that now boasts more than 38,500 alumni across the globe.