No Cover Image

Journal article 703 views 155 downloads

Digital Weberianism: Bureaucracy, Information, and the Techno-rationality of Neoliberal Capitalism / Christopher Muellerleile, Susan L. Robertson

Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies, Volume: 25, Issue: 1, Start page: 187

Swansea University Author: Christopher Muellerleile

Abstract

The social infrastructures that constitute both public and private administration are increasingly entangled with digital code, big data, and algorithms. While some argue these technologies have blown apart the strictures of bureaucratic order, we see more subtle changes at work. We suggest that far...

Full description

Published in: Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies
ISSN: 1080-0727
Published: Indiana University Press 2018
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa33093
Tags: Add Tag
No Tags, Be the first to tag this record!
Abstract: The social infrastructures that constitute both public and private administration are increasingly entangled with digital code, big data, and algorithms. While some argue these technologies have blown apart the strictures of bureaucratic order, we see more subtle changes at work. We suggest that far from a radical rupture, in today’s digitizing society, there are strong traces of the logic and techniques of Max Weber’s bureau; a foundational concept in his account of the symbiotic relationship between modernity, capitalism, and social order. We suggest the manner through which these techniques have shaped contemporary systems of social administration helps explain the remarkable legitimacy digital governance has acquired. We do this by exploring how digital technologies draw from, and give new substance to, the three key principles of Weber’s theory of the bureau—efficiency, objectivity, and rationality. We argue that neoliberalism, or the widespread economization of politics, has conditioned the digital versions of these principles, not least by subordinating social ends to technical means. At the same time we argue that digitalism engenders the privatization of authority, not least through its “elective affinity” with market logics.
Keywords: bureaucracy, Max Weber, social order, data, digital, information technology, control, rationality, neoliberalism
College: College of Science
Issue: 1
Start Page: 187