Research Handbook on the Sociology of International Law
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Research Handbook on the Sociology of International Law

Edited by Moshe Hirsch and Andrew Lang

Bringing together a highly diverse body of scholars, this comprehensive Research Handbook explores recent developments at the intersection of international law, sociology and social theory. It showcases a wide range of methodologies and approaches, including those inspired by traditional social thought as well as less familiar literature, including computational linguistics, performance theory and economic sociology. The Research Handbook highlights anew the potential contribution of sociological methods and theories to the study of international law, and illustrates their use in the examination of contemporary problems of practical interest to international lawyers.
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Chapter 6: ‘What gets measured gets done’: exploring the social construction of globalized knowledge for development

Ruth Buchanan, Kimberley Byers and Kristina Mansveld

Abstract

The project of international development can be understood as a way of seeing the world that is both constituted by and interwoven with evolving processes of measurement, comparison, and quantification. Drawing on the sociological insight that regimes of measurement can never be ‘neutral’ representations of external ‘objects’, but are instead actively engaged in shaping what can be known, this chapter critically examines the ways in which the production of globalized rankings and metrics are imbricated with the production of the social and economic hierarchies that development as a project seeks to ameliorate. The chapter illustrates the mechanisms and effects of this co-production of the development project and its practices of quantification, through a close consideration of the case of Millennium Development Goal 7 Target D.

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