Sally Engle Merry (New York University)
“Cultural Dimensions of Power/Knowledge:
The Challenges of Measuring Violence against Women.”
27 Aprile, 10:00-12:00
Villa Paola, Seminar Room
International governance, like all contemporary modes of governance, increasingly operates by means of quantitative measurements.
Issues such as corruption, the rule of law, academic achievement, compli-ance with human rights norms, and accountability are generally translated into numbers and indicators.
As quantification becomes ever more central to governance, it is critical to examine the cultural and socialtheoretical frameworks within which measurement systems are developed.
A comparison of four cultural approaches to measuring violence against women globally shows that there are significant differences in what is made visible and what is disappeared in each one.
Moreover, the organizations that promote these different approaches vary significantly in power and resources. Those generated by better resourced orga-nizations come to dominate the definition of a phenomenon, such as violence against women, and the wayit is understood.
Ultimately, this shapes the way it is governed. Since regulation and governance depend onwhat quantitative data makes visible, these slippages have important implications for the practice of global governance.
Download the readings:
1. 'Quantification and the Paradox of Measurement: Translating Children’s Rights in Tanzania' (pdf)
2. 'Cultural Dimensions of Power/Knowledge:The Challenges of Measuring Violence against Women' (pdf)