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From Standardization to Standardizing Work


Higgins, V and Larner, W, From Standardization to Standardizing Work, Calculating the Social: Standards and the Reconfiguration of Governing, Palgrave Macmillan, V Higgins and W Larner (ed), London, UK, pp. 205-218. 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_12


The main aim of this book has been to explore how standards — and associated technologies of governing — are produced as objects of knowledge, and the various ways in which they contribute to the configuring as well as reorganizing of local practices. In pursuing this aim, contributors have drawn upon post-realist analytical approaches, and specifically the rich bodies of work labelled as governmentality and actor network theory The application of these approaches to a range of substantive case studies illustrates the significance and pervasiveness of what we term standardizing work as an ongoing and never completed process of ‘making up’ objects, subjects and practices of modern governing. This needs to be contrasted with standardization which implies a process that is complete, successful and black-boxed. Realist approaches focus on the macro-structural regulatory processes and actors through which standards are created and given momentum (Brunsson and Jacobsson, 2000; Drori et al., 2006; Tamm Hallström, 2004). From this perspective, the rise of standards is reflective of a progressive rationalization of the social world. Their global diffusion and penetration of new domains leads to ever more formalized ways of categorizing and judging social domains and practices. In contrast, the approach taken by contributors to this book emphasizes the significance of various practices and agents in constructing spaces and subjects that are amenable to standardizing, and through which standards ‘projects’ are rendered knowable and governable.

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Keywords:standards, governing, sociology, environmental management system, standardize work, software vendor, Actor Network Theory, Australian agriculture
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:138149
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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