Workshop - Governing by numbers: Key indicators and the politics of expectations

Martin-Luther-University
Halle-Wittenberg, Germany
5 October, 2017 - 7 October, 2017
Application Deadline: 15 April, 2017

IPSA/ISA Reseaerch Comittee on Political Sociology is glad to announce a Call for Papers for a workshop on indicators and politics, hosted by the ISA RC41 and Political Sociology Section of the German Sociological Association (DGS). The workshop will take place in early October in Halle at Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg.
The deadline to submit an abstract (about 500 words) is 15 April 2017. Proposals must be sent to the organizers, c/o Walter Bartl: walter.bartl@soziologie.uni-halle.de

You may find general information below, while further details on the workshop and the submission procedure can be downloaded as a pdf file.

Organizers: Walter Bartl, Audrey Terracher-Lipinski
Advisory committee: Petra Dobner, Oliver Holtemöller, Christian Papilloud, Richard Rottenburg, Reinhold Sackmann, Konstanze Senge


Politics in the 20th century created a whole array of indicators, such as gross domestic product (GDP) or unemployment indicators, that became crucial for the structuration of entire policy fields. Politics in the 21st century, inspired by the new public management discourse, complemented this trend by developing not only more indicators but also by inventing new forms of regulation (Power 1997) and new ways of modelling political expectations about the future. In the sociology of quantification (Espeland, Stevens 2008; Diaz-Bone, Didier 2016), the relevance of numbers in democratic politics and democratic representation was among the earliest issues addressed (Rose 1991; Desrosières 2005). A basic assumption in this line of reasoning is that there is an inherently political dimension to what seems to be methodological or technocratic issues in the quantification process. While research has become more diversified, there is also growing need for systematizing theoretical approaches and empirical findings as well as pursuing a strategic approach in defining desiderata for further research so as to build a more coherent stock of knowledge about the politics of quantification.

The planned workshop seeks to advance this endeavor by focusing on specific aspects of governing by numbers and particularly on the relevance of key indicators to a ‘politics of expectations’.