Imaginaries of Platform Entrepreneurship in the Creative Industries: Techno-optimism and Subversion in Ghanaian Filmmaking

Robin Steedman, Ana Alacovska*, Thilde Langevang, Rashida Resario

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This article examines imaginaries of platform entrepreneurship in film industries in Ghana. To understand how these imaginaries are spatially shaped and locally defined, we carried out in-depth qualitative research with fifty filmmakers in four regions of Ghana. Digital and platform technologies have long been optimistically celebrated as a way for marginalized creative entrepreneurs, particularly in Africa, to break into global markets and reach unprecedented levels of business success. However, far from being universally adopted by African creative entrepreneurs, these global techno-optimistic imaginaries are continually reworked, contested and subverted in practice. In this article, we show how Ghanaian filmmakers mobilized, deployed and resisted imaginaries of platform entrepreneurship in their efforts to make sense of their situated entrepreneurial practices and to imagine the future of their creative businesses. We found that rather than naïvely adhering to techno-optimist imaginaries, through their practices, Ghanaian filmmaking entrepreneurs challenged the power geometry of the current platform ecosystem dominated by major Silicon Valley players. We contribute empirically rich data on how filmmaking entrepreneurs use and imagine platform technologies, as is necessary when African digital entrepreneurs are surrounded by hype but inadequate data. We also contribute to the literature about how individual platforms and platform types have unique affordances and how these affordances are shaped by the location and socio-economic position of the entrepreneur.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInformation, Communication & Society
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)1979-1995
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

Bibliographical note

Published online: 13 Apr 2022.


  • Platform imaginaries
  • Platform entrepreneurship
  • Film distribution
  • Ghana
  • Creative industries
  • Creative entrepreneurship

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