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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 - Introduction: Programmed Sociality Chapter 2 - The Multiplicity of Algorithms Chapter 3 - Neither Black Nor Box: (Un)knowing Algorithms Chapter 4 - Life at the Top: Engineering Participation Chapter 5 - Affective Landscapes: Everyday Encounters with Algorithms Chapter 6 - Programming the News: When Algorithms Come to Matter Chapter 7 - Conclusion: Algorithmic Life Notes Bibliography Index

About the Author

Taina Bucher is Associate Professor of Communication and IT at the University of Copenhagen. Her research focuses on the power and politics of algorithms in everyday life at the intersection of media studies, sociology and science, and technology studies.


"Taina Bucher's If...Then: Algorithmic Power and Politics is delightful: she presents multiple engaging critiques about algorithms while simultaneously addressing contemporary issues like fake news, news feeds, and technology "black boxes." Her writing is intellectually interesting and exciting ... pleasurable and impressive scholarship. She models excellence, and Bucher shows how we can do meaningful research in these anti-intellectual times." -- Gregory Zobel, Technical Communication "if...Then is a timely and informative read for law librarians and the people they assist. Therefore, If...Then is a worthwhile purchase for any law library" -- Latia L. Ward, Cornell University Law Library, Law Library Journal "Taina Bucher's If...Then is sure to become a seminal piece and will greatly benefit future scholars and researchers who are interested in understanding the power and politics of algorithms." -- Benjamin Jacobsen, University of York "This extraordinary book helps us understand how algorithms help shape our encounters and orientations in the world. Most profound is Bucher's methodology, for she reveals how throwing our hands up in the face of 'unknowable,' black-boxed algorithms is a cop-out. Opacity, secrecy and invisibility, after all, are the basic conditions of human life. She thus offers us a three-pronged method for taking on algorithms that are both magical and concrete, good and bad, technical and social: we need to reverse engineering known unknowns; unpack our tacit knowledge about and affective experiences with platforms; and understand algorithms as situated practices. Ranging from Facebook's newsfeed to fake news, Bucher helps us see that the most important question isn't what is an algorithm, but when and how are algorithms?"- Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Professor of Modern Culture and Media, Brown University "To really understand the implications of algorithms, it is not enough to simply know what algorithms are or how they are used. You need a technical grounding in the logics of computation, a supple philosophy of social power, and a feel for the contours of lived experience. Taina Bucher has all of these. Here she offers a lucid and eye-opening explanation of how algorithmic systems like Facebook produce a new technical for the social."-Tarleton Gillespie, author of Custodians of the Internet: Platforms, Content Moderation, and the Hidden Decisions that Shape Social Media "If this book proves that friendship is computable, then it also proves that scholarship is not. Taina Bucher explains the secrets of algorithms in a lucid and nontechnical way. A delight to read a young scholar's voice who truly understands the impact of algorithmic culture in everyday life."-Jose van Dijck, Utrecht University, author of The Culture of Connectivity and The Platform Society

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