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Relational Rule, Trust and Automation

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Tellef S. Raabe.

Trust is the ‘pithy matter’ of social and political order. Or so much contemporary theory and research holds or implies. The ways that people interact, observe others interacting, perceive that others are interacting, and cede behaviour because of real or perceived consequences for breaking those assumptions is wrought through with notions and practices of ‘trustworthiness’. Trust is, then, also a form of rule, or, if you prefer, of subordination.

This paper examines how trust, as a relational practice, is both a) central to the rapid advancement of internet 2.0 platforms as capitalist firms, and, b) actively but quietly used to shape how people relate to each other. I draw on ethnographic fieldwork with ‘Trust and Safety’ workers in the Bay Area to discuss some of the evolutions and processes that matter, and how these processes are increasingly automated -but not always in straightforward ways.

This talk is part of the Cambridge Technology & New Media Research Cluster series.

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