21/1 – Making Up People

Module Leader:
László Kőszeghy
2021-2022 Summer
Social Sciences

This has given me the greatest trouble and still does: to realize that what things are called is incomparably more important than what they are. – Friedrich Nietzsche
Classifying humans is far from being an innocent attempt at mapping the pre-existing structure of society. Categories of humans influence their target, changing the behaviour and delineating the possibilities for those so classified. Sometimes these changes are so radical that we have to update the category itself. These feedback loops are ubiquitous in society, making and molding humans – with or without their awareness. How categories shape our lives without our knowing is increasingly salient in the case of our being sorted into algorithmic measurable types rendered from vast masses of data. The ever-increasing interconnection between the technological and the social has brought about new ways of being quantified, categorized, and thus made up, from the outside.
In this module, we will undertake an interdisciplinary inquiry – from a sociological, technological, philosophical perspective – into the ontological, methodological and ethical problems surrounding the classification of humans and the very notion of “human types”.

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