Conclusion: Knowing and Governing

Research output: Chapter in Book or Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Measuring is a way of doing politics. Scholars and practitioners, who contributed to this Handbook, agreed that measuring mattered because of its instrumentality in governing. They however came to contrasting conclusions about the way forward and the volume therefore reflected this variety of discordant interpretations. Some contributions contested the effectiveness of the existing indicator culture and addressed methodological solutions inspired by standards of scientific objectivity, like a focus on performance indicators or institutional quality dimensions, improved techniques, internal validity, and reliability. Others were critical about the contemporary indicator culture because of normative premises, as well as intended and unintended consequences, ranging from the creation of distorted ontologies of the real, and the instrumental, conceptual hybridity in serving the pervasiveness of the neo-liberal paradigm of governance and the simplification of social complexity, over the external interference in the legitimacy of domestic policy decision-making, to the dissemination of corporate governance mechanisms. Many contributors proposed solutions that in their view better suited the decentralisation of governance. Their chapters did not demand pure mechanical objectivity but rather a better transformation of politics into metrics through locally embedded, disaggregated, micro-level, country-specific data and systems of knowledge creation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of Indicators in Global Governance
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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