the app studies intitiative

The App Studies Initiative (ASI) is an international collaboration to advance research into mobile apps at the universities of Toronto, Amsterdam, and Siegen. Comprised of researchers and PhD candidates in the field of media studies broadly conceived, it engages primarily with conceptual and methodological challenges associated with studying mobile apps as well as addressing their political, economic, and social significance. To this end, it also designs methods and tools that facilitate the critical and empirical study of apps and their environments.

The approaches employed here study apps not as discrete entities but as being situated in multiple senses. Apps are conceived as socially and technically distributed accomplishments – specific articulations of their technicity, economic conditions, social or cultural practices, data, third parties, and platform politics. Such approaches tend to traverse boundaries between studies of platforms, software, and apps by drawing attention to their intricate relations (e.g., platforms offering apps, apps built on top of platforms, apps facilitating practices that inform platforms, and apps functioning as platforms). This project further aims to advance the novel field of app studies by designing and exploring the utility of novel methods for critical and empirical studies of apps whilst attending to the technicity, political economy, history, and specificity enactment of apps and their environments.

academic collaborations

The App Studies Initiative is collaborating with the following institutions and groups:

Faculty of Information / Dept. of Arts, Culture & Media
University of Toronto, Canada

Digital Methods Initiative / Dept. of Media Studies
University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands

“Media of Cooperation” (DFG Collab. Res. Centre 1187)
University of Siegen, Germany


For a list of members affiliated with the App Studies Initiative, please see


To get in touch, please see