IMCA Research Seminar - Massimo Airoldi, University of Milan: Algorithmic consumer culture: concepts, theories and methods

Institute of Marketing and Communication Management

Date: 6 October 2022 / 12:30 - 14:00

Room 253

Massimo Airoldi will present: Algorithmic consumer culture: concepts, theories and methods


With the ubiquitous platformization of markets and datafication of everyday life, consumption has become a techno-social process, resulting from the activities and interactions of both human agents and automated systems. Recommending content based on traces of past consumer behaviors, the machine learning algorithms embedded in digital infrastructures like YouTube, Instagram or TikTok recursively shape consumer culture, in opaque and hardly predictable ways. Consumers may follow, or resist; machines will learn, and adapt their predictions accordingly, in a recursive circle. This talk aims to provide a set of conceptual, theoretical and methodological tools for investigating the techno-social feedback loops at the root of today’s algorithmic consumer culture. Particular attention will be given to sociological perspectives in the study of algorithms and AI, and to the use of platform data in research on consumer and machine behavior.

Short bio:

Massimo Airoldi is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the Department of Social and Political Sciences of the University of Milan. Previously he worked as researcher and Assistant Professor at the Lifestyle Research Center of EM Lyon Business School. His research interests include critical algorithm studies, computational methods, consumer culture and cultural taste. He is the author of Machine Habitus: Toward a Sociology of Algorithms (Polity, 2021).