Displacing politics through measuring?

No time for reading tonight so here is the link and the abstract for an article so it does not get forgotten. I am surprised by how much reading gets fitting at the moment as I feel so anxious about having so much to do. It is probably a twisted type of procrastination.

Sally Engle Merry, ‘Measuring the World: Indicators, Human Rights, and Global Governancein Current Anthropology Vol. 52, No. S3,

Indicators are rapidly multiplying as tools for assessing and promoting a variety of social justice and reform strategies around the world. There are indicators of rule of law, indicators of violence against women, and indicators of economic development, among many others. Indicators are widely used at the national level and are increasingly important in global governance. There are increasing demands for “evidence-based” funding for nongovernmental organizations and for the results of civil society organizations to be quantifiable and measurable. The reliance on simplified numerical representations of complex phenomena began in strategies of national governance and economic analysis and has recently migrated to the regulation of nongovernmental organizations and human rights. The turn to indicators in the field of global governance introduces a new form of knowledge production with implications for relations of power between rich and poor nations and between governments and civil society. The deployment of statistical measures tends to replace political debate with technical expertise. The growing reliance on indicators provides an example of the dissemination of the corporate form of thinking and governance into broader social spheres.

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