Revisiting the Black Box Society by rethinking the political economy of big data
JournalBig Data and Society
PublisherSAGE Publications Inc.
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractThe Black Box Society was one of first scholarly accounts to propose a social theory of the use of data in constructing personal reputations, new media audiences, and financial power, by illuminating recurrent patterns of power and exploitation in the digital economy. While many corporations have a direct window into our lives through constant, ubiquitous data collection, our knowledge of their inner workings is often partial and incomplete. Closely guarded by private companies and inaccessible to most researchers or the broader public, too much algorithmic decision-making remains a black box to this day. Much has happened since 2015 that vindicates and challenges the book’s main themes. To answer many of the concerns raised in the volume in light of the most recent developments, we have brought together leading thinkers who have explored the interplay of politics, economics, and culture in domains ordered algorithmically by managers, bureaucrats, and technology workers. While the contributions are diverse, a unifying theme animates them. Each offers a sophisticated critique of the interplay between state and market forces in building or eroding the many layers of our common lives, as well as the privatization of spheres of reputation, search, and finance. Unsatisfied with narrow methodologies of economics or political science, they advance politico-economic analysis. They therefore succeed in unveiling the foundational role that the turn to big data has in organizing economic and social relations.
Identifier to cite or link to this itemhttp://hdl.handle.net/10713/13970