The growing ubiquity of algorithms in everyday life has prompted cross-disciplinary interest in what people know about algorithms. The purpose of this article is to build on this growing literature by highlighting a particular way of knowing algorithms evident in past work, but, as yet, not clearly explicated. Specifically, I conceptualize practical knowledge of algorithms to capture knowledge located at the intersection of practice and discourse. Rather than knowing that an algorithm is/does X, Y, or Z, practical knowledge entails knowing how to accomplish X, Y, or Z within algorithmically mediated spaces as guided by the discursive features of one’s social world. I conceptualize practical knowledge in conversation with past work on algorithmic knowledge and theories of knowing, and as empirically grounded in a case study of a leftist online community known as “BreadTube.”.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science