'This excellent collection of essays gets beneath the surface of the 'world of standards' which we inhabit. At the point of their enactment and materialization in checklists, registers, accounting statements and questionnaires, standards are necessarily enmeshed in complex local webs of action and reaction. Each contribution shows how standards and the forms of calculation which they engender are always incomplete yet powerful projects of social and economic organization'. - Professor Michael Power, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK
Standards are an increasingly powerful mechanism for the governing of economic, political and social life. Yet there has been little sustained attention by social scientists to how standards and standardizing projects are articulated and rendered workable in practice. This innovative book is the first of its kind to examine the dynamics of standardization work, and the objects, subjects and forms of governing to which this gives rise. Drawing upon post-realist approaches of governmentality and actor network theory, contributors provide detailed case studies which highlight how standards configure, and are configured through, local practices; the complexity of standardizing processes which contribute to harmonization at the same time as creating distinction and difference; and, the new forms of identity, subjectivity and social organization that emerge through standardizing work.