Digital Weberianism: Towards a reconceptualization of bureaucratic social order in the digital age

Working Paper by Chris Muellerleile & Susan Robertson: “The social infrastructures that the global economy relies upon are becoming dependent on digital code, big data, and algorithms. At the same time the digital is also changing the very nature of economic and social institutions. In this paper we attempt to make sense of the relationships between the emergence of digitalism, and transformations in both capitalism, and the ways that capitalism is regulated by digitized social relations. We speculate that the logic, rationalities, and techniques of Max Weber’s bureau, a foundational concept in his theory of modernity, helps explain the purported efficiency, objectivity, and rationality of digital technologies. We argue that digital rationality constitutes a common thread of social infrastructure that is increasingly overdetermining the nature of sociality. We employ the example of the smart city and the digitizing university to expose some of the contradictions of digital order, and we end by questioning what digital order might mean after the end of modernity….(More)”