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Standards and Standardization as a Social Scientific Problem


Higgins, V and Larner, W, Standards and Standardization as a Social Scientific Problem, Calculating the Social: Standards and the Reconfiguration of Governing, Palgrave Macmillan, V Higgins and W Larner (ed), London, UK, pp. 1-17. ISBN 978-1-349-36794-8 (2010) [Research Book Chapter]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2010 Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited

DOI: doi:10.1057/9780230289673_1


In recent years there has been an increased interest among social scientists in issues of standards and attempts at standardization in all aspects of economic, political and social life. Once regarded as technical issues of concern primarily to specialists (see Barry 2001, p. 63), standardization is now viewed as a legitimate site of social scientific study Such an interest has been provoked largely by questions concerning how successful co-ordination among a variety of different actors, organizations and levels of governing is achieved in a globalizing world where the state is no longer the main form of regulation, and particularly how public and private entities might most effectively shape conduct ‘at a distance’ within this environment. In particular, the globalization of scientized knowledge systems as social and cultural institutions is argued to accelerate a rationalization of the social world (see Weber, 1968) in which professional and organizational knowledge-practices are reinvented in increasingly formalized, universalized and standardized ways (Drori et al., 2006, pp. 13–14). This gives rise to a wide range of standards, protocols, certification and auditing systems which form a pervasive and powerful mechanism for governing conduct within contemporary economies and societies (e.g., Brunsson and Jacobsson, 2000; Power, 1997; Strathern, 2000; Tamm Hallström, 2004).

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Keywords:standards, governing, sociology, corporate social responsibility, orphan drug, environmental management system, Actor Network Theory, social scientific study
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Sociology and social studies of science and technology
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in human society
UTAS Author:Higgins, V (Professor Vaughan Higgins)
ID Code:138148
Year Published:2010
Deposited By:Office of the School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2020-03-26
Last Modified:2020-04-06

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