John Wiley & Sons The Metric Society Cover In today's world, numbers are in the ascendancy. Societies dominated by star ratings, scores, likes .. Product #: 978-1-5095-3041-0 Regular price: $18.60 $18.60 Auf Lager

The Metric Society

On the Quantification of the Social

Mau, Steffen

Cover

1. Auflage Januar 2019
200 Seiten, Softcover
Wiley & Sons Ltd

ISBN: 978-1-5095-3041-0
John Wiley & Sons

Kurzbeschreibung

In today's world, numbers are in the ascendancy. Societies dominated by star ratings, scores, likes and lists are rapidly emerging, as data are collected on virtually every aspect of our lives. From annual university rankings, ratings agencies and fitness tracking technologies to our credit score and health status, everything and everybody is measured and evaluated.

In this important new book, Steffen Mau offers a critical analysis of this increasingly pervasive phenomenon. While the original intention behind the drive to quantify may have been to build trust and transparency, Mau shows how metrics have in fact become a form of social conditioning. The ubiquitous language of ranking and scoring has changed profoundly our perception of value and status. What is more, through quantification, our capacity for competition and comparison has expanded significantly - we can now measure ourselves against others in practically every area. The rise of quantification has created and strengthened social hierarchies, transforming qualitative differences into quantitative inequalities that play a decisive role in shaping the life chances of individuals.

This timely analysis of the pernicious impact of quantification will appeal to students and scholars across the social sciences, as well as anyone concerned by the cult of numbers and its impact on our lives and societies today.

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In today's world, numbers are in the ascendancy. Societies dominated by star ratings, scores, likes and lists are rapidly emerging, as data are collected on virtually every aspect of our lives. From annual university rankings, ratings agencies and fitness tracking technologies to our credit score and health status, everything and everybody is measured and evaluated.

In this important new book, Steffen Mau offers a critical analysis of this increasingly pervasive phenomenon. While the original intention behind the drive to quantify may have been to build trust and transparency, Mau shows how metrics have in fact become a form of social conditioning. The ubiquitous language of ranking and scoring has changed profoundly our perception of value and status. What is more, through quantification, our capacity for competition and comparison has expanded significantly - we can now measure ourselves against others in practically every area. The rise of quantification has created and strengthened social hierarchies, transforming qualitative differences into quantitative inequalities that play a decisive role in shaping the life chances of individuals.

This timely analysis of the pernicious impact of quantification will appeal to students and scholars across the social sciences, as well as anyone concerned by the cult of numbers and its impact on our lives and societies today.

Introduction 1

1 The Measurement of Social Value 10

What does quantification mean? 12

The calculative practices of the market 15

The state as data manager 17

Engines of quantification: digitalization and economization 21

2 Status Competition and the Power of Numbers 26

Dispositives of comparison 28

Commensurability and incommensurability 31

New horizons of comparison 33

Registers of comparison and investive status work 35

3 Hierarchization: Rankings and Ratings 40

Visibilization and the creation of difference 40

On your marks! 43

University rankings 47

Here today, gone tomorrow: the market power of rating agencies 53

4 Classification: Scoring and Screening 60

Credit scoring 63

Quantified health status 67

Mobility value 71

'Boost your score' - academic status markers 74

Social worth investigations 78

5 The Evaluation Cult: Stars and Points 81

Satisfaction surveys 82

Evaluation portals as selectors 84

Peer-to-peer ratings 87

Professions in the evaluative spotlight 89

Like-based reputations on social media 93

6 The Quantified Self: Charts and Graphs 99

Health, exercise and mood 101

The collective body 104

Motivation techniques 106

7 The Power of Nomination 111

The nomination power of the state 112

Performance measurement and the framing of competition 115

The nomination power of experts 119

Algorithmic authority 123

Critique of nomination power 125

8 Risks and Side-Effects 129

Reactive measurements 129

Loss of professional control 133

Loss of time and energy 135

Monoculture versus diversity 137

9 Transparency and Discipline 141

Normative and political pressure 144

The power of feedback 147

Technological surveillance in the workplace 149

The new tariff systems 151

The interdependence of self- and external surveillance 153

The regime of averages, benchmarks and body images 155

10 The Inequality Regime of Quantification 158

Establishment of worth 160

Reputation management 162

Collectives of non-equals 166

From class conflict to individual competition 168

Inescapability and status fluidity 170

Self-reinforcing effects 174

Bibliography 177

Index 196
'In this brilliant book, Steffen Mau does not simply demonstrate the distortions that occur when excessive reliance is placed on statistical indicators, but shows how the current mania for measurement and quantification eats away at social relationships and even our sense of ourselves.'
Colin Crouch, Emeritus Professor at the University of Warwick

'Mau, a leading expert on inequality in Europe, is tackling a question of growing significance: the relationship between quantification, status comparison and social competition. His probing analysis offers a fresh perspective for understanding the brave new world of self-monitoring we live in. It offers convincing explanations for current anxieties of performance that are fed by growing inequality and neoliberalism. Influential in Germany, this excellent book should find a wide readership in the English-reading public.'
Michèle Lamont, past President, American Sociological Association

"A timely, informative and appropriately pessimistic book."
Morning Star


'A wide-ranging tour through rankings and ratings, stars and points, charts and graphs... the metric society may prove a means for faraway data overlords to capture power and entrench inequality in the guise of efficiency. It risks descending into a 21st-century dystopia that is almost as bleak, in its impersonal way, as those imagined in the darkest novels of the 20th.'

The Economist
Steffen Mau is Professor of Macrosociology at the Humboldt University of Berlin.