Imaginaries and Materialities of Accountability: Exploring practices, collectives and spaces
Dawn Goodwin (Lancaster University)
Vicky Singleton (Lancaster University)
Start time:
3 September, 2016 at 14:00
Session slots:

Short abstract:

This track considers the sociotechnologies of accountability. We ask: • How is accountability being done, challenged and remade? • How do practices of accountability variously distribute responsibility? • How might accountability be done differently and what circumstances are necessary to do so?

Long abstract:

This track invites contributions on the complex relations and practices that constitute sociotechnologies of accountability. There has been a proliferation of technologies of auditing, responsibilising, surveillance and evaluation in many areas, including health, environment, academia and economic and political systems. Recent 'crises of accountability' in these areas have resulted in moves that both increase regulation and control, while also devolving and individualising responsibility. Increasingly, workers should not only discharge their duties conscientiously but be seen to be doing so, and record having done so. In this sense, accountability is conceptualised as a public, witnessed phenomenon. Yet, such formulations are considered dissatisfactory in their erasure of embedded, embodied and collective practices, and because accountabilities crystallise on particular actors at particular times, strengthening the connection between action and outcome thus reflecting an overly deterministic impression of decision-making. Inspired by Donna Haraway's (2007) assertion that accountabilities are mundane, prosaic, effects of relations, rather than ethical abstractions, we invite contributions which: • Explore how accountability is being done, challenged and remade. • Explore how relations and practices of accountability variously distribute responsibility. Further, if accountability is conceptualised as enacted in collectives this suggests the possibility of political intervention about which accountability to 'do'. Hence we also seek to promote theorising and empirical research about imaginaries and materialities that (re)produce restrictive and oppressive accountabilities, as well as those that open spaces for transformative accountabilities. We ask: • How might accountability be done differently? • What circumstances and provisions would need to be in place to do it differently? SESSIONS: 5/4