Editor in Chief’s Pick – Engines of Order: A Mechanology of Algorithmic Techniques

Bernhard Rieder

Bernhard Rieder, Engines of Order: A Mechanology of Algorithmic Techniques (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2020).

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Accounts of the rise and construction of dominant technologies can serve as a framework to understand how technologies can take root and acquire meaning in cultural domains such as arts, heritage, and digital humanities. On a broader, societal level, such frameworks can overlap with studies on datafication, which critically examine how dominant technologies transform the ordering of information and knowledge and its impacts on social life. In his recent book Engines of Order: A Mechanology of Algorithmic Techniques, new media scholar Bernhard Rieder examines how these information ordering techniques are embedded in technical infrastructures and economic logics, and how they “act as engines of order that actively modulate relationships between users and circulating units of various kind operate on existing patterns and fault lines in diversified yet unequal societies.”

Suggested reading picked by Stedelijk Studies Co-Editor in Chief Sjoukje van der Meulen.


Bernhard Rieder is Associate Professor of New Media and Digital Culture at the University of Amsterdam and a collaborator with the Digital Methods Initiative. His research focuses on the history, theory, and politics of software and in particular on the role algorithms play in social processes and in the production of knowledge and culture. This includes work on the analysis, development, and application of computational research methods as well as investigation into the political and economic challenges posed by large online platforms.
Source: https://www.uva.nl/profiel/r/i/b.rieder/b.rieder.html