Door: Taina Bucher.

Algorithmic Power and Politics.

“IF … THEN provides an account of power and politics in the algorithmic media landscape that pays attention to the multiple realities of algorithms, and how these relate and coexist. The argument is made that algorithms do not merely have power and politics; they help to produce certain forms of acting and knowing in the world. In processing, classifying, sorting, and ranking data, algorithms are political in that they help to make the world appear in certain ways rather than others. Analyzing Facebook’s news feed, social media user’s everyday encounters with algorithmic systems, and the discourses and work practices of news professionals, the book makes a case for going beyond the narrow, technical definition of algorithms as step-by-step procedures for solving a problem in a finite number of steps. Drawing on a process-relational theoretical framework and empirical data from field observations and fifty-five interviews, the author demonstrates how algorithms exist in multiple ways beyond code. The analysis is concerned with the world-making capacities of algorithms, questioning how algorithmic systems shape encounters and orientations of different kinds, and how these systems are endowed with diffused personhood and relational agency. IF … THEN argues that algorithmic power and politics is neither about algorithms determining how the social world is fabricated nor about what algorithms do per se. Rather it is about how and when different aspects of algorithms and the algorithmic become available to specific actors, under what circumstance, and who or what gets to be part of how algorithms are defined.”