Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

A necessary disenchantment: myth, agency and injustice in a digital world

Couldry, Nick ORCID: 0000-0001-8233-3287 (2014) A necessary disenchantment: myth, agency and injustice in a digital world. Sociological Review, 62 (4). pp. 880-897. ISSN 0038-0261

PDF - Accepted Version
Download (475kB) | Preview
Identification Number: 10.1111/1467-954X.12158


This lecture reviews the history of how the status and authority of media institutions over the past century have been entangled with wider claims about social knowledge and the order of societies. It analyses those relations in terms of three successive and now overlapping myths: ‘the myth of the mediated centre’ which claims that media (traditional mass media institutions) are privileged access points to our centre of social values and social reality; the ‘myth of us’ which is now emerging around the supposedly natural collectivities that ‘we’ form on commercial social media platforms; and, from outside the media industries, the ‘myth of big data’ which proclaims big data techniques are generating an entirely new and better form of social knowledge. All these myths require deconstruction by a particular hermeneutic, but the case of the myth of big data is the most paradoxical, since its claims amount to an anti-hermeneutic, a refusal to interpret the social anymore as the resultant of processes of meaning-making. This third myth, it is argued, requires a hermeneutic of the anti-hermeneutic if it is to be deconstructed and previous conceptions of social knowledge (from Weber onwards), and the claims to possible justice and politics based upon them, are to be preserved.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 The Author. The Sociological Review © 2014 The Editorial Board of The Sociological Review
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2014 08:10
Last Modified: 19 Jun 2024 03:57
Projects: EP/H0003738/1
Funders: UK Digital Economy

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics