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The sociology of quantitative methods in the U.K. 

This thought-provoking article by Malcolm Williams, Luke Sloan and Charlotte Brookfield offers a new spin on the familiar problem of the quantitative deficit within U.K. sociology. Many accounts of this sort are concerned with the explanatory implications of this deficit (the phenomena that defy explanation without quantitative terms) while digital sociology […]

The bureaucratic origins of algorithmic authoritarianism

I just came across this remarkable estimate in an Economist feature on surveillance. I knew digitalisation made surveillance cheaper but I didn’t realise quite how much cheaper. How much of the creeping authoritarianism which characterises the contemporary national security apparatus in the UK and US is driven by a familiar impulse towards efficiency? […]

The Entlastung of the Quantified Self

I’m very interested in this concept, which I was introduced to through the work of Pierpaolo Donati and Andrea Maccarini earlier this year. It emerged from the work of Arnold Gehlen and refers to the role of human institutions in unburdening us from existential demands. This is quoted from his Human Beings […]

big data and the politics of austerity 

From Infoglut, by Mark Andrejevic, loc 607. The context to digital innovation in public services:  What emerges is a kind of actuarial model of crime: one that lends itself to aggregate considerations regarding how best to allocate resources under conditions of scarcity – a set of concerns that fits neatly […]

the big data divide 

From InfoGlut, by Mark Andrejevic, loc 464: The dystopian version of information glut anticipates a world in which control over the tremendous amount of information generated by interactive devices is concentrated in the hands of the few who use it to sort, manage, and manipulate. Those without access to the […]

the micro-sociology of algorithmic authority 

From InfoGlut, by Mark Andrejevic, loc 601: The fictional portrayals envision a contradictory world in which individual actions can be predicted with certainty and effectively thwarted. They weave oracular fantasies about perfect foresight. Predictive analytics, by contrast, posits a world in which probabilities can be measured and resources allocated accordingly. […]