Call for papers: Measurement and markets

Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association
Washington, D.C., November 29 – December 3, 2017

Measurement and the Making of Markets

Organizers: Stephanie Friede (Duke University) and Georgia Hartman (UC Irvine)

This panel is concerned with the processes by which new objects of speculation come into being. Standardized systems of measurement allow goods to be abstracted from the social, political, and ecological contexts in which they are situated, rendering them legible to the market. The process of measurement–performed by well trained assessors, surveyors, economists, and other experts–is never as value-free as the graphs and maps they produce seem to suggest. We maintain that acts of quantification and measurement are but one way of thinking about spaces and places. From maps of atmospheric circulation that transform wind into an exchangeable commodity to the detailed processes for calculating land and home value, this panel will explore the culturally specific, contingent, and oft contested processes by which measurement and markets work to render new spaces and objects legible to investment. Papers will confront the following questions, among others:

· What methods, measurements, and calculative technologies are used to turn goods into exchangeable commodities?
· How does measurement constitute a way of knowing and how does it in turn shape understandings of and interactions in social and ecological environments?
· What is involved in making particular measurement methods accepted practice for marketizing specific kinds of goods?
· When expert ways of knowing and quantifying become accepted practice, what other ways of knowing are silenced in that process?

Please submit a paper title and abstract of no more than 250 words by April 3, 2017 to Stephanie Friede ([email protected]) and Georgia Hartman ([email protected]). Notifications will be sent no later than April 10th.

Please title the subject of your email, “Measurement Panel Submission.” Please email with any questions.