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Democratising measurement: or why thick concepts call for coproduction


Alexandrova, A and Fabian, M, Democratising measurement: or why thick concepts call for coproduction, European Journal for Philosophy of Science, 12 Article 7. ISSN 1879-4912 (2022) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

The Author(s) 2022

DOI: doi:10.1007/s13194-021-00437-7


Thick concepts, namely those concepts that describe and evaluate simultaneously, present a challenge to science. Since science does not have a monopoly on value judgments, what is responsible research involving such concepts? Using measurement of wellbeing as an example, we first present the options open to researchers wishing to study phenomena denoted by such concepts. We argue that while it is possible to treat these concepts as technical terms, or to make the relevant value judgment in-house, the responsible thing to do, especially in the context of public policy, is to make this value judgment through a legitimate political process that includes all the stakeholders of this research. We then develop a participatory model of measurement based on the ideal of co-production. To show that this model is feasible and realistic, we illustrate it with a case study of co-production of a concept of thriving conducted by the authors in collaboration with a UK anti-poverty charity Turn2us.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:philosophy of science, measurement, participatory governance
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Political science
Research Field:Political theory and political philosophy
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Community services
Objective Field:Structure, delivery and resourcing
UTAS Author:Fabian, M (Dr Mark Fabian)
ID Code:148574
Year Published:2022
Web of Science® Times Cited:7
Deposited By:CALE Research Institute
Deposited On:2022-01-25
Last Modified:2022-04-21

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