Algorithmic Fetishism

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Torin Monahan


Surveillance-infused forms of algorithmic discrimination are beginning to capture public and scholarly attention. While this is an encouraging development, this editorial questions the parameters of this emerging discussion and cautions against algorithmic fetishism. I characterize algorithmic fetishism as the pleasurable pursuit of opening the black box, discovering the code hidden inside, exploring its beauty and flaws, and explicating its intricacies. It is a technophilic desire for arcane knowledge that can never be grasped completely, so it continually lures one forward into technical realms while deferring the point of intervention. The editorial concludes with a review of the articles in this open issue.    

Article Details

Author Biography

Torin Monahan

Torin Monahan is a Professor of Communication at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


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