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Machine Habitus

Hardback By Massimo Airoldi
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Product Description

We commonly think of society as made of and by humans, but with the proliferation of machine learning and AI technologies, this is clearly no longer the case. Billions of automated systems tacitly contribute to the social construction of reality by drawing algorithmic distinctions between the visible and the invisible, the relevant and the irrelevant, the likely and the unlikely – on and beyond platforms.

Drawing on the work of Pierre Bourdieu, this book develops an original sociology of algorithms as social agents, actively participating in social life. Through a wide range of examples, Massimo Airoldi shows how society shapes algorithmic code, and how this culture in the code guides the practical behaviour of the code in the culture, shaping society in turn. The ‘machine habitus’ is the generative mechanism at work throughout myriads of feedback loops linking humans with artificial social agents, in the context of digital infrastructures and pre-digital social structures.

Machine Habitus will be of great interest to students and scholars in sociology, media and cultural studies, science and technology studies and information technology, and to anyone interested in the growing role of algorithms and AI in our social and cultural life.

Product Details

Format: Hardback, 200 pages Language: English
Dimension: 21.59cm x 13.97cm x 2.29cm ISBN10: 1509543279
Weight: 386g ISBN13: 9781509543274
Publication Date: 17 Dec 2021 Publisher: Polity Press

About Author

Massimo Airoldi is a sociologist and Assistant Professor at EM Lyon Business School.

Product Reviews


‘I strongly suspect that Massimo Airoldi’s “machine habitus” is a concept that will be utilized and debated for years to come. At its centre, this book is a lively and original take on how we can understand social connections and society itself in a world laced with algorithms: it is an agenda-setting text.

’David Beer, University of York‘Machine Habitus is without question an original and high-quality book. It is one of the first books that uses sociological theory to make sense of machine learning algorithms. Hence it will be essential reading for anyone interested in understanding algorithms and their growing role in our societies.

’Simon Egbert, Universität Bielefeld


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