Organizing without Understanding

Lists in Ancient and in Digital Cultures
  • Elena Esposito


The paper focuses on the practice of using lists in the digitized society, where we do not only deal with lists on the web, but since a few decades tend to observe objects and services in general in the form of evaluative orderings like ratings and rankings. The difference and the relationship between lists, ratings and rankings are illustrated and discussed in historical perspective. In a second step, the paper specifically addresses the web and digital data processing, asking why lists are spreading right now, especially in the last three decades. It analyses the relationship of the form of the list with the web and with algorithms, which are its central tools of information processing.


Lists Ratings Rankings Algorithms Writing Machine Learning Artificial Intelligence 

Organisieren ohne Verstehen

Listen in antiken und in digitalen Kulturen


Der Beitrag untersucht die Verwendungspraxis von Listen in der digitalisierten Gesellschaft, in der wir nicht nur mit Listen im Internet umgehen, sondern seit einigen Jahrzehnten dazu neigen, Objekte und Leistungen in der Form von evaluativen Ordnungen wie Ratings und Rankings zu beobachten. Der Unterschied und die Beziehung zwischen Listen, Ratings und Ranglisten werden in historischer Perspektive dargestellt und diskutiert. In einem zweiten Schritt befasst sich der Beitrag speziell mit dem Internet und der digitalen Datenverarbeitung und fragt, warum Listen gerade in den letzten drei Jahrzehnten Verbreitung gefunden haben. Er behandelt die Beziehung der Form der Liste zum Internet und zu Algorithmen, die die primären Mittel der Informationsverarbeitung im Internet sind.


Listen Ratings Rankings Algorithmen Schrift Machine Learning Künstliche Intelligenz 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Deutschland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fakultät für SoziologieUniversität BielefeldBielefeldGermany
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Comunicazione e EconomiaUniversità di Modena e Reggio EmiliaReggio EmiliaItaly

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