Eurograd message

Message posted on 30/01/2023

Panel “Quantification in process...”, Nordic STS conference, Oslo, June 7-9

Dear all,

We are happy to announce you that Camille Beaurepaire, Siyu Li, and myself, are organizing the open panel “Quantification in process. Putting data into measurement categories” at the 6th Nordic STS conference

in Oslo, June 7 – June 9, 2023. The deadline to submit an abstract

(250 words max) is March 1.

Quantification in process. Putting data into measurement categories: Quantification refers to the process of building representations of reality with numbers – in fields as varied as science, economics, administration, or everyday life (Desrosières 1993, Porter 1995, Espeland and Stevens 2008, Hirschman and Berman 2018, Mennicken and Espeland 2019, Mennicken and Salais 2022). It includes two consecutive steps (Desrosières 2008): 1) constructing measurement conventions and categories, i.e. standards that define the object of measurement by selecting what counts and what does not, and 2) measuring, i.e. to fill in the categories with elements of the pre-existing reality (often called data). This panel aims at empirically investigating the variety of processes by which data are produced and integrated into measurement categories, in order to better understand the intertwining of the two steps of quantification. To draw on an industrial metaphor: once the conventional blueprint has been agreed upon, how do the persons in charge of the quantification process (statisticians, accountants…) collect and transform their data input into a quantified output? Putting data into categories is thus seen as a concrete activity, a set of material and moral practices that unfold in a work environment, drawing on ecologies of work and infrastructures ethnographies (Star and Strauss 1999, Star 1999, Denis and Goëta 2018, Didier 2022). Furthermore, putting data into categories is considered as a problematic process in which data must first be produced, then conveyed and transformed, before being integrated into categories of measurement (Edwards 2010, Gitelman 2013, Leonelli and Tempini 2020). From official statistics to corporate accounting, from management indicators to covid curves and dashboards, each quantification brings a particular response to the challenges of data integration into categories and implies a singular work on data. To identify points of convergence and contrasts between the forms of integration, the expected communications will be based on a rich empirical material, and may address the following questions: 1) which data are needed, and which criteria lead to their selection or dismissal? 2) How to collect and store them? To what extent should they be modified? 3) How to eventually articulate them to the categories? 4) How to maintain data into categories, and deal with the possible frictions resulting from the encounter between categories and data?

Panel organizers: Camille Beaurepaire (Ecole Normale Supérieure - EHESS) Quentin Dufour (Ecole Normale Supérieure - EHESS) Siyu Li (Ecole Normale Supérieure - EHESS)

Best wishes,

Quentin Dufour

Quentin Dufour Post-Doctorant en sociologie au CMH Responsable de la chaire QUALIDATA - ENS Membre de l'ISNS - Paris Santé Campus +33 6 68 30 10 59

Centre Maurice Halbwachs École Normale Supérieure - EHESS 48 Bd Jourdan 75014 Paris

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