September 13, 2010

Conference: Indicators as a Technology of Global Governance

New York University School of Law

Monday, September 13, 2010 and Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The conference and the book examined (i) the genealogy of indicators and other quantitative techniques of governance, (ii) the relationships between the producers, users, subjects, and audiences of indicators, and (iii) creation, use and effects of indicators as forms of knowledge and as mechanisms of making and implementing decisions in global governance and connected local practices.  Although both the conference and the book consider how (and by whom) indicators are produced, the focus was not on improving the process of indicator construction.  Rather, using insights from case studies, empirical work and theoretical approaches from several disciplines, the conference and the book aim to identify legal, policy, and normative implications of the production and use of indicators as a technology of global governance.

Indicators that play a significant part as a technology of global governance and which, therefore, were considered in the conference and the book include: indicators of human rights compliance, governance indicators, indicators measuring legal regimes and institutions, health indicators,  indicators measuring access to and quality of water, sustainable development indicators, trafficking-in-persons indicators, criminal justice indicators, corruption indicators and indicators of state failure and state capacity.

The conference and the book are part of the IILJ’s new project on Indicators as a Technology of Global Governance.  This builds on work we have done individually on global administrative law (Kingsbury), World Bank Doing Business and good governance indicators (Davis) and ethnographies and impact studies of indicators concerning human rights and violence against women (Merry).

Conference Materials:

Framing Paper:

Kevin E. Davis, Benedict Kingsbury, Sally Engle Merry, Indicators as a Technology of Global Governance

Related Papers:

Gregory Shaffer, Transnational Legal Process and State Change: Opportunities and Constraints

Margaret L. Satterthwaite, AnnJanette Rosga, The Trust in Indicators Measuring Human Rights

Nikhil K. Dutta, Accountability in the Generation of Governance Indicators (Emerging Scholars Paper)