Reframing ADM: Concepts, Values, Alternatives

Keynotes: Helen Kennedy (University of Sheffield) and Sally Wyatt (Maastricht University).

The conference is organized by the ADM Nordic Perspectives research network, an interdisciplinary research network comprising scholars from anthropology, computer science, media and communication studies, philosophy, law, health informatics, STS, information studies, sociology and more. The network is directed by Minna Ruckenstein (University of Helsinki), Stefan Larsson (Lund University) and Stine Lomborg (University of Copenhagen).

Practical information

Participation is free of charge, but seats are limited, and registration is mandatory. 


  • Deadline for submission of abstracts: 15.  May 2022
  • Notification of acceptance: 1. June 2022
  • Deadline for registrations: 30. June 2022
  • Conference: 29-30. August 2022

Questions or queries regarding the event should be directed to the local host Stine Lomborg,


Abstracts of 200-300 words excluding references must be sent to no later than 15. May 2022.

Current approaches to automated decision-making (ADM) systems have a tendency to treat the society as a landing site upon which algorithmic technologies make an impact (Pink et al. 2022). They are promoted with ideas of efficiency and optimisation, seamless transitions just as the Internet was once sold to us as a “superhighway” or “global town square” (Wyatt 2004, 2021). But this is not how these technologies work in practice, on the ground, in specific organisations and settings; and moreover, these concepts and metaphors are not neutral – they contain within them assumptions about how society does and should work.

In this conference, we are interested in alternative conceptualisations of ADM, which imagine a more nuanced and diverse social space; not anticipatory projections into the future but grounded in everyday experience. How do people adapt to the requirements of ADM systems, or dream with algorithmic technologies? We are interested in studies that conceptualise ADM systems in unexpected ways, and develop metaphors and evocative stories, which can promote alternative understandings and more socially sensitive framings to guide the development and governance of new technologies. The ultimate goal is to promote a different vocabulary of concepts and values, to give novel directions for understanding algorithmic developments.

Our conference aims to counter the trend of unmoored speculation by focusing on socio-technical developments within their organisational and everyday contexts (Kennedy 2018). We will promote empirically grounded perspectives to current algorithmic systems, and how they are envisioned in contemporary guidelines and strategies, highlighting the people behind algorithms, what they do when they build, promote and evaluate technologies. We invite ethnographic, participatory and case-based contributions from a range of disciplines, including media and communication studies, anthropology, law, computer science, sociology, information studies and Science and Technology Studies (STS). Studies that describe how ADM systems develop, transform, fail and are renewed are of particular interest for thinking about the expected and the unexpected consequences of algorithmic technologies. 

We are particularly interested in ADM in public sector developments, but these often intertwine with the goals of private companies and involve public-private partnerships. We encourage research engagements that demonstrate the different spectres of value that promoters, designers, regulators, and users advocate. While we explore how visions and values emerge in technology-mediated practices, we want to move across different sectors of society to see differences and similarities across the health field, social work, education, insurance, finance, and media. In order to reach beyond current debates, we ask questions like: What would it mean to think of credit scoring in terms of ‘solidarity’ or predictive policing in terms of ‘care’? How can we preserve human autonomy in relation to ADM systems, and what kind of autonomy it is? What are the knowledge exchanges and translations, that take place when algorithmic technologies become an integral part of decision-making processes?



Kennedy, H. (2018). Living with data: Aligning data studies and data activism through a focus on everyday experiences of datafication. Krisis: Journal for Contemporary Philosophy, 2018(1), 18-30.

Pink, S. et al (2022). Everyday Automation: Experiencing and Anticipating Automated Decision-Making. London & New York: Routledge.

Wyatt, S. (2004). Danger! Metaphors at work in economics, geophysiology, and the Internet. Science, technology, & human values, 29(2), 242-261.

Wyatt, S. (2021). Metaphors in critical Internet and digital media studies. New Media & Society, 23(2), 406-416.