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Toward a critique of algorithmic violence

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  • R. Bellanova
  • K. Irion
  • K.L. Jacobsen
  • F. Ragazzi
  • R. Saugmann
  • L. Suchman
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>13/03/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>International Political Sociology
Issue number1
Number of pages30
Pages (from-to)121-150
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Questions about how algorithms contribute to (in)security are under discussion across international political sociology. Building upon and adding to these debates, our collective discussion foregrounds questions about algorithmic violence. We argue that it is important to examine how algorithmic systems feed (into) specific forms of violence, and how they justify violent actions or redefine what forms of violence are deemed legitimate. Bringing together different disciplinary and conceptual vantage points, this collective discussion opens a conversation about algorithmic violence focusing both on its specific instances and on the challenges that arise in conceptualizing and studying it. Overall, the discussion converges on three areas of concern-the violence under-girding the creation and feeding of data infrastructures; the translation processes at play in the use of computer/machine vision across diverse security practices; and the institutional governing of algorithmic violence, especially its organization, limitation, and legitimation. Our two-fold aim is to show the potential of a cross-disciplinary conversation and to move toward an interactional research agenda. While our approaches diverge, they also enrich each other. Ultimately, we highlight the critical purchase of studying the role of algorithmic violence in the fabric of the international through a situated analysis of algorithmic systems as part of complex, and often messy, practices.