My research examines the entanglements of computational and legal reasoning. As an anthropologist, I follow scientists, engineers, lawyers, policymakers, businesspeople, and activists as they negotiate computational and legal frameworks to regulate ethical, political, and epistemological concerns. I situate the present debates in the histories of civil rights struggles, of risk-based thinking in capitalist institutions (private insurance, consumer credit, housing finance, health care, criminal justice), and of probability and statistics in the human sciences.
Filtering Dissent: Social Media and Land Struggles in Brazil
Rodrigo Ochigame and James Holston
New Left Review 99 (2016)
Hailed as organizational tools of the oppressed, social media have also emerged as powerful surveillance apparatuses, but could existing power structures be reinforced even by the very algorithms they use to order data? A history of algorithmic filtering and a case study of its role in the land struggles of Brazil’s Guarani and Kaiowá peoples.