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Andreas Langenohl: Algorithmic Reflexivity: The Constitution of Socio-Technical Accountability in Financial Pricing. [Abstract]

In ethnomethodology (EM), the concept of reflexivity refers to processes of the constitution of meaning through which actors collaboratively produce the interpretations they need in order to orient themselves in various situations. The paper discusses how EM’s constitutive theoretic notion of reflexivity can be applied to non-human agency, referring to approaches in the social studies of finance (SSF) as they are informed by science and technology studies (STS), and in particular, how a reflexive notion of meaning and agency might be applied to financial agency that is largely object-driven, automated, algorithmic, and operates through quantifiers (that is, prices). Filling this gap, the paper outlines how meaning making in largely automated and algorithmic financial markets can be conceptualized in terms of EM’s notion of reflexivity. It thereby refers to recent conceptualization of algorithmic action as a social logic centering on the execution of prescriptions, connects this conceptualization to EM’s notion of accountability, and reconstructs algorithmic finance as a particular distribution of accountability and constitution of reflexivity, among human and non-human financial agencies.

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