Ignacio Siles

Ignacio Siles is a professor of media and technology studies in the School of Communication at Universidad de Costa Rica. He is the author of A Transnational History of the Internet in Central America: Networks, Integration, and Development and Networked Selves: Trajectories of Blogging in the United States and France.

  • Living with Algorithms

    Agency and User Culture in Costa Rica

    Ignacio Siles

    A nuanced account from a user perspective of what it's like to live in a datafied world.

    We live in a media-saturated society that increasingly transforms our experiences, relations, and identities into data others can analyze and monetize. Algorithms are key to this process, surveilling our most mundane practices, and to many, their control over our lives seems absolute. In Living with Algorithms, Ignacio Siles critically challenges this view by surveying user dynamics in the global south across three algorithmic platforms—Netflix, Spotify, and TikTok—and finds, surprisingly, a more balanced relationship.

    Drawing on a wealth of empirical evidence that privileges the user over the corporate, Siles examines the personal relationships that have formed between users and algorithms as Latin Americans have integrated these systems into the structures of everyday life, enacted them ritually, participated in public with and through them, and thwarted them. Sometimes users follow algorithms, Siles finds, and sometimes users resist them. At times, users do both. Agency lies in the navigation of the spaces in-between.

    By analyzing what we do with algorithms rather than what algorithms do to us, Living with Algorithms clarifies the debate over the future of datafication and whether we have a say in its development. Concentrating on an understudied region of the global south, the book provides a new perspective on the commonalities and differences among users within a global ecology of technologies.

    • Paperback $35.00

Contributor

  • Media Technologies

    Media Technologies

    Essays on Communication, Materiality, and Society

    Tarleton Gillespie, Pablo J. Boczkowski, and Kirsten A. Foot

    Scholars from communication and media studies join those from science and technology studies to examine media technologies as complex, sociomaterial phenomena.

    In recent years, scholarship around media technologies has finally shed the assumption that these technologies are separate from and powerfully determining of social life, looking at them instead as produced by and embedded in distinct social, cultural, and political practices. Communication and media scholars have increasingly taken theoretical perspectives originating in science and technology studies (STS), while some STS scholars interested in information technologies have linked their research to media studies inquiries into the symbolic dimensions of these tools. In this volume, scholars from both fields come together to advance this view of media technologies as complex sociomaterial phenomena.

    The contributors first address the relationship between materiality and mediation, considering such topics as the lived realities of network infrastructure. The contributors then highlight media technologies as always in motion, held together through the minute, unobserved work of many, including efforts to keep these technologies alive.

    ContributorsPablo J. Boczkowski, Geoffrey C. Bowker, Finn Brunton, Gabriella Coleman, Gregory J. Downey, Kirsten A. Foot, Tarleton Gillespie, Steven J. Jackson, Christopher M. Kelty, Leah A. Lievrouw, Sonia Livingstone, Ignacio Siles, Jonathan Sterne, Lucy Suchman, Fred Turner

    • Paperback $40.00