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Expertise and the politics of discipline

In the last few days, I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on a remark Susan Halford made at this event about the difference between expertise and discipline. If I understand her correctly, her point was that capacities for knowing and acting in the world (expertise) can have their reproduction organised […]

From homo economicus to homo digitalis

In a recent paper, I’ve argued we find a cultural project underpinning ‘big data’: a commitment to reducing human being, in all its embodied affective complexity, stripping it of any reality beyond the behavioural traces which register through digital infrastructure. Underlying method, methodology and theory there is a vision of […]

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. […]