Edited by Moshe Hirsch and Andrew Lang
Chapter 6: ‘What gets measured gets done’: exploring the social construction of globalized knowledge for development
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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