Event Name Mode 3? The production of new forms of knowledge in transnational governance
Start Date 9th Oct 2020 3:30pm
End Date 9th Oct 2020 5:00pm
Duration 1 hour and 30 minutes

The dominance of International Organisations in the production of global metrics has not only penetrated the transnational social and policy fields; numbers have become an integral part of the fabric of International Organisations themselves. However, amidst avid critics and unapologetic fans, surprisingly little is known about the ways in which global processes of quantification are reconfiguring the field. Metrics have infiltrated not only organisational cultures and the environments these organisations inhabit; crucially, they are reshaping the ways International Organisations co-exist, compete and survive in an increasingly quantified, yet uncertain world. Recent decades have seen fervent activity by International Organisations to build working collaborations and broad alliances for finding ‘global solutions’ to ‘global crises’. Financial investment in these collaborations is increasing and so is hope: If only we had known, we could have acted. Given the moral dimension that these new indices of progress have taken, as well as the enormous human and environmental cost of their failures, the ERC-funded project METRO (‘International Organisations and the rise of a global metrological field’) is conducting frontier, interdisciplinary research on the interplay of International Organisations in producing quantification for transnational governance. 

Building on science and technology studies (STS), and using theoretical perspectives from anthropology, political sociology, as well as the newly emerging field of the social studies of metrics, this presentation will report on emerging project findings in relation to the production of new forms of knowledge in the global metrological field. Education, poverty and global health will be the focal cases for this examination: in all three policy arenas, IOs have been central to processes of standardisation, de-contextualisation and performance management through numbers; as a result, they have been instrumental in commensurating, and therefore transforming these policy fields.

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