Audit culture revisited: indicators, rankings and the New World Order
Susan Wright (Århus University)
Paper short abstract:
Quantification and statistics have long served as key instruments of governance and modern state power yet the rise of audit culture is now a truly global phenomenon. We explore how new systems of measurement and international rankings are increasingly producing a form of global governmentality.
Paper long abstract:
Quantification and statistics have long been recognized as key instruments of governance and modern state power yet increasingly we are witnessing the rise of new systems of measurement and global rankings that operate both above and within the nation-state. Audit culture, it seems, is an increasingly global phenomenon. Drawing on a range of international examples this paper sets out to explore - and theorise - the rise of audit culture as a defining feature of modernity. More specifically, we focus on the ways in which international rankings are creating new domains of knowledge and power and a new system of global governmentality. We ask, why have performance indicators and global rankings become such a populist project and with what effects? And how is the current obsession with developing ever-more pervasive systems for measuring and ranking people and things changing societies?
Governing by numbers: audit culture, rankings and the New World (Re)order