The social lives of numbers

Brian Silverstein (2020)

Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan/Springer.

Extract. “Indeed, anthropological and interdisciplinary attention to the cultural politics of statistics, numbers and counting practices is not new (Kula 1986; Lave 1988; Crump 1990), as we have seen, but such work has proliferated in recent years (Miller 2001; Guyer et al. 2010; Day et al. 2014; Rottenburg et al. 2015). A number of studies have drawn attention to the social and historical nature of statistical knowledge (Hacking 1991, 2006; Saetnan et al. 2011), as well as the epistemological and political stakes attendant upon statistics as central to claims of objectivity (MacKenzie 1981; Porter 1986). The focus of such work has tended to be on quantification as a mechanism of commensuration (Desrosières 2000; Espeland and Stevens 2008) […]” (p. 6]

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