Affective capitalism of knowing and the society of search engine

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Huvila, Isto


Aslib Journal of Information Management, Volume 68, Number 5, p.566–588 (2016)



Purpose The purpose of this paper is to discuss the affective premises and economics of the influence of search engines on knowing and informing in the contemporary society. Design/methodology/approach A conceptual discussion of the affective premises and framings of the capitalist economics of knowing is presented. Findings The main proposition of this text is that the exploitation of affects is entwined in the competing market and emancipatory discourses and counter-discourses both as intentional interventions, and perhaps even more significantly, as unintentional influences that shape the ways of knowing in the peripheries of the regime that shape cultural constellations of their own. Affective capitalism bounds and frames our ways of knowing in ways that are difficult to anticipate and read even from the context of the regime itself. Originality/value In the relatively extensive discussion on the role of affects in the contemporary capitalism, influence of affects on knowing and their relation to search engine use has received little explicit attention so far.

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