Panels details > Panel 57

P57- The politics of numbers: building on the contributions of Alain Desrosières (1940-2013)

PANEL Organizer :

Cosmo Howard (c.howard@griffith.edu.au), Griffith University (Australia)

SUMMARY

Starting in the late 1970s, historians, philosophers, political scientists and sociologists began to give serious critical attention to the origins, evolution and functions of modern statistics. This ongoing research agenda has highlighted the close relationship between the rise of statistical thinking and the emergence of the modern nation-state. Statistics are invariably implicated in governing, and furthermore, the construction and implementation of statistical measures are profoundly political processes. Alain Desrosières was a prominent contributor to this literature until his death in 2013. He brought an unusual combination of statistical, sociological and historical expertise to bear on his studies of statistical practices. Desrosières drew our attention to the importance of local “statistical traditions”, thereby rendering visible a global standardizing project in the statistical community. He showed how the transformation of knowledge claims into “indisputable facts” is achieved but also resisted, and he exposed the veiled political initiatives and conflicts that secured statistical authority in the industrialized west. Drawing on Desrosières' work, this panel highlights and builds on his contributions to understanding the politics of statistics. The following themes should be considered as a broad guide in the preparation of paper proposals: How are statistics invoked to “speak for” particular publics, and with what political consequences? In what ways are statistics and statisticians implicated in a drive to standardize categories and identities in public policy and the broader society? How resilient and resistive are local statistical traditions/innovations? Are “indisputable” statistical facts increasingly challenged in an era of “open data”, “data democracy” and “big data”?

KEY WORDS

Statistical traditions, quantification, official statistics, Desrosières, standardization.

ROOM

Sciences Po Lille  B2.16


SESSION 1 : 8/07/2015 : 15:00-16:30

Chair :

Cosmo Howard (c.howard@griffith.edu.au), Griffith University (Australia)

Discussants :

Patrick Barrett
 (pbarrett@waikato.ac.nz), University of Waikato (New Zealand)
Roser Cusso
(rosercusso@hotmail.com), Université Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne (Paris)
Damien Piron
(damien.piron@ulg.ac.be), Université de Liège (Belgium)
Betty
Espinosa (bespinosa@flacso.edu.ec), Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (Ecuador)

From statistics to “accountings”: How
Desrosières’ perspective changes the focus on the figures that rule the world

Fabrice Bardet(bardet@entpe.fr,) EcoleNationale des Travaux Publics de l’E ́tat (CNRS) (France)

 Governing Population and Social Order in the late XIX Century. The Italian Case

Francesca De Rosa and Valeria Marzocco (valeria.marzocco@unina.it ), UNINA (Italy)

The role of numbers in neoliberalism: calculation and hybridization in contemporary official statistics

Cosmo Howard (c.howard@griffith.edu.au), Griffith University (Australia)

SESSION 2 : 8/07/15 : 17:00-18:30

Chair :
Cosmo Howard (c.howard@griffith.edu.au),
Griffith University (Australia)

Discussants :
Fabrice Bardet (bardet@entpe.fr,) EcoleNationale des Travaux Publics de l’Etat (CNRS) (France)
Francesca De Rosa and Valeria Marzocco
(valeria.marzocco@unina.it ), UNINA (Italy)
Cosmo Howard (c.howard@griffith.edu.au),
Griffith University (Australia)

Statistical argument and the politics of depoliticization: a case study of decision-making in the Christchurch Education RenewalStatistical argument and the politics of depoliticization: a case study of decision-making in the Christchurch Education Renewal
Patrick Barrett

(pbarrett@waikato.ac.nz), University of Waikato (New Zealand)

The role of statisticians in data production and change: the case of UNESCO
Roser Cusso
(rosercusso@hotmail.com), Université Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne (Paris)

Public debt indicators as social constructions: a sociological perspective on public finance
Damien Piron
(damien.piron@ulg.ac.be), Université de Liège (Belgium)

University reform processes in Ecuador: controversies regarding quality measurements
Betty
Espinosa (bespinosa@flacso.edu.ec), Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (Ecuador)

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