Digitalization and Critical Theory of Society

Digitalization and Critical Theory of Society

Ivanov D.V.

Dr. Sci. (Sociol.), Prof., Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration; Head of the Department of Theory and History of Sociology, St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg, Russia

Asochakov Yu.V.

Cand. Sci. (Philos.), Associate Professor, St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg, Russia.

ID of the Article:

This work is supported by the Russian Science Foundation (grant 21-18-00125).

For citation:

Ivanov D.V., Asochakov Yu.V. Digitalization and Critical Theory of Society. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2023. No 6. P. 16-28


The article is presenting а critical analysis of the digitalization discourse which is reflecting not social innovations but managerial and bureaucratic appropriation of virtualization routine practices. Empirical data collected in the authors’ research show digital technologies usage turning into social routine in the Russian largest cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg. For a full revealing contradictions and true direction of digitalization, development of critical theory of society is proposed as continuation of the dialectical line of the Frankfurt School neo-Marxism evolution. The totality of domination structures and social control forms in postindustrial society is analyzed on the basis of algorithmic rationality conception introduced by the authors. Algorithmic rationality has replaced technological rationality of the late industrial age. Post-virtualization tendencies and micromovements in everyday life are considered to be an authenticity revolt against total digitalization / coercive virtualization of social life. That authenticity revolt is interpreted as an emancipation potential and escape from the algorithmic rationality realm.

digitalization; critical theory; algorithmic rationality; post-virtualization


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Content No 6, 2023