1st Edition

Algorithms and Subjectivity The Subversion of Critical Knowledge

By Eran Fisher Copyright 2022
    128 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    128 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    In this thought-provoking volume, Eran Fisher interrogates the relationship between algorithms as epistemic devices and modern notions of subjectivity.

    Over the past few decades, as the instrumentalization of algorithms has created knowledge that informs our decisions, preferences, tastes, and actions, and the very sense of who we are, they have also undercut, and arguably undermined, the Enlightenment-era ideal of the subject. Fisher finds that as algorithms enable a reality in which knowledge is created by circumventing the participation of the self, they also challenge contemporary notions of subjectivity.

    Through four case-studies, this book provides an empirical and theoretical investigation of this transformation, analyzing how algorithmic knowledge differs from the ideas of critical knowledge which emerged during modernity – Fisher argues that algorithms create a new type of knowledge, which in turn changes our fundamental sense of self and our concept of subjectivity.

    This book will make a timely contribution to the social study of algorithms and will prove especially valuable for scholars working at the intersections of media and communication studies, internet studies, information studies, the sociology of technology, the philosophy of technology, and science and technology studies.

    Introduction: Subjectivity Redundant;  1. Can Algorithmic Knowledge be Critical?;  2. How Algorithms Think About Humans? (with Yoav Mehozay);  3. Can Algorithms Tell Us Who We Are?;  4. Can Algorithms Make Aesthetic Judgments? (with Norma Musih);  5. Do Algorithms Have a Right to the City?;  Epilogue


    Eran Fisher is Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology, Political Science, and Communication at the Open University of Israel. He studies the link between digital media technology and society. His books include Media and New Capitalism in the Digital Age (2010), Internet and Emotions (2014; co-edited with Tova Benski), and Reconsidering Value and Labour in the Digital Age (2015; co-edited with Christian Fuchs).