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Algorithms and the End of PoliticsHow Technology Shapes 21st-Century American Life$
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Scott Timcke

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781529215311

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781529215311.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM POLICY PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.policypress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Policy Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PPSO for personal use.date: 08 December 2021

The One-Dimensionality of Data

The One-Dimensionality of Data

(p.43) 2 The One-Dimensionality of Data
Algorithms and the End of Politics

Scott Timcke

Policy Press

This chapter turns to questions about the social life of data. It uses the case study of econometrics to look at how datafication disproportionately shapes the comprehension of reality. The goal in this chapter is to demonstrate how econometrics as a mode of knowledge production understands, organizes and controls social life the world over. There are several steps involved in this argument. First, it reviews how Acemoglu and Robinson, as emblematic of orthodox Anglo-American political economy, conceptualize their symbolic reasoning, and how this quantification comes to mediate social phenomena, thereby determining them as objects. It builds upon these observations through undertaking a selective historical analysis on the role of statistical inquiry during European state formation as it relates to accomplishing economic growth. The remaining sections employ Western Marxism's critique of quantification to highlight what is at stake in the symbolic reordering of social life as well as what kinds of mystifications are courted by econometrics.

Keywords:   data, econometrics, datafication, knowledge production, social life, European state formation

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