James Scott

24 Feb 2023 07:00 - 17 Jun 2023 08:29
Open in Logseq
    • anarchist-leaning sociologist and writer best known for Seeing Like a State and The Art of Not being Governed.
    • Two Cheers for Anarchism

      • Section "For Politics", "Debate and Quality: Arguments against Quantitative Measures of Qualities." Quote Hard Times (see gradgrindism )
      • Cute Black Mirror-ish scenario of an academic environment where scholars get their citation index displayed on their foreheads....
      • My poking fun at quantitative measures of productivity in the academy, however satisfying in its own right, is meant to serve a larger purpose. The point I wish to make is that democracies, particularly mass democracies like the United States that have embraced meritocratic criteria for elite selection and the distribution of public funds, are tempted to develop impersonal, objective, mechanical measures of quality. ... The seductiveness of such measures is that they all turn measures of quality into measures of quantity, thereby allowing comparison across cases with an apparently single and impersonal metric. They are above all a vast and deceptive “antipolitics machine” designed to turn legitimate political questions into neutral, objective administrative exercises governed by experts. It is this depoliticizing sleight-of-hand that masks a deep lack of faith in the possibilities of mutuality and learning in politics so treasured by anarchists and democrats alike. Before arriving at “politics,” however, there two other potentially fatal objections to such techniques of quantitative commensuration.