Futures of algorithms and choices

Structuration of algorithmic imaginaries and digital platforms in Europe

Authors

  • Miloš Hroch Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Communication Studies and Journalism, Charles University
  • Panos Kompatsiaris IULM, Milan
  • Volker Grassmuck Leibniz Institute for Media Research Hans-Bredow-Institut (HBI), Germany
  • José Moreno MediaLab CIES Iscte, Lisboa
  • Lutz Peschke Universiteler Mah., Bilkent University Faculty of Fine Arts, Design and Architecture Department of Communication and Design, Ankara TUR
  • Jan Jirák Department of Media Studies Institute of Communication Studies and Journalism Charles University, Prague
  • Debashmita Poddar Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.51480/1899-5101.17.1(35).707

Keywords:

Algorithmic imaginary, platformization, construction of the future, structuration theory, platform capitalism

Abstract

The increasing impact of algorithmically driven processes on human societies, which can exacerbate political, economic, and cultural asymmetries, raises questions about reducing human agency by constraining platform structures. We draw on the theoretical concept of algorithmic imaginary, which captures users’ appropriations and ideas of these processes. In this paper, we focus on the dynamics between agency and structure in algorithmic imaginaries regarding the future of digital media platforms in Europe. The paper takes structuration theory as a theoretical starting point and employs methods of futures studies to analyze how the future is constructed in scenarios developed by a diversity of experts participating in a series of workshops. The future scenarios analysis is mapped around four actors, namely platform users, platform corporations, algorithms and institutions. By considering the role of various actors, particularly institutions, and their interdependencies this paper contributes to more balanced conceptualizations of algorithmic imaginaries, which tend to be centered around users’ perspectives.

Author Biographies

Miloš Hroch, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Communication Studies and Journalism, Charles University

Miloš Hroch is an assistant professor at the Department of Media Studies at Charles University in Prague. His research interests are in the fields of participatory media studies, platform studies & cultural studies. In his monograph Vystřihni – nalep: Jak post-digitální tisk a ziny vzkřísily papírová média (2022), he (re)examines the materiality of zines in the post-digital situation.

Panos Kompatsiaris, IULM, Milan

Panos Kompatsiaris is an associate professor of cultural and media theory at HSE University and a research fellow in media sociology at IULM. He is the author of The Politics of Contemporary Art Biennials (2017) and several articles on art, theory, and cultural politics. His forthcoming book is titled Curation in the Age of Platform Capitalism: The Value of Selection, Narration, and Expertise in New Media Cultures (2024).

 

Volker Grassmuck, Leibniz Institute for Media Research Hans-Bredow-Institut (HBI), Germany

Volker Grassmuck is a media sociologist, freelance author and activist. He has studied and conducted research on the knowledge order of digital media, copyright and the knowledge commons at Freie Universität Berlin, Tokyo University, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and University of São Paulo.

José Moreno, MediaLab CIES Iscte, Lisboa

José Moreno is a PhD candidate and Research Assistant at MediaLab CIEs ISCTE, a research center within the University Institute of Lisbon in Portugal. He was born in Portugal and joined academia after a professional career in journalism and his research interests include platformization of news, political polarization and disinformation.

Lutz Peschke, Universiteler Mah., Bilkent University Faculty of Fine Arts, Design and Architecture Department of Communication and Design, Ankara TUR

Lutz Peschke is an assistant professor at the Department of Communication and Design at Bilkent University in Ankara. He studied chemistry (PhD at the University of Heidelberg) and media studies (PhD at the University of Bonn). His research interests are among others digital cultures, science and knowledge communication, and environmental communication.

Jan Jirák, Department of Media Studies Institute of Communication Studies and Journalism Charles University, Prague

Jan Jirák is a professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University. He is a media scholar, teacher, translator, columnist, and head of the Department of Media Studies at Metropolitan University in Prague. His main fields of academic interest are media literacy and media education, the role of public service media, and media history.

 

Debashmita Poddar, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy

Debashmita Poddar is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy, working as a social network researcher. She obtained her PhD in computer science, and her thesis focused on stochastic optimisation of networks.

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Published

2024-07-04

How to Cite

Hroch, M., Kompatsiaris, P. ., Grassmuck, V., Moreno, J., Peschke, L., Jirák, J. ., & Poddar, D. (2024). Futures of algorithms and choices: Structuration of algorithmic imaginaries and digital platforms in Europe. Central European Journal of Communication, 17(1(35), 38-60. https://doi.org/10.51480/1899-5101.17.1(35).707