Global Digital Culture| The Lurker and the Politics of Knowledge in Data Culture

Olga Goriunova


This article explores the practice of lurking, developing the figure of the lurker as a conceptual persona. The lurker is a sage of the digital era, constructing a form of “private” knowledge. Not involved but performative, constative but only in a manner of probability, the lurker produces frameworks for private truth production through continuous self-adjustment. A mode of knowing and a method of being, lurking is about the poiesis of the embedded self and the power to establish conditionality in digital networks. A lurker maps out a plane that is occupied today by big data analytics. It is data algorithms that lurk, operating with sagacious data wisdoms rather than technical knowledge and constructing partial and probabilistic propositions. The article concludes by inquiring into the consequences of the current digital technical condition in which the conceptual persona of the lurker is fulfilled by algorithms, and its mode of knowing becomes a new mode of governance.


lurker, lurking, critique, Deleuze, Guattari, digital culture, data analytics, big data, algorithm, machine learning, social media, knowledge

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