[URBANTH-L]CFP: AAA 2006 - panel on standards and standardization

Yuson Jung jung at fas.harvard.edu
Tue Mar 21 16:53:21 EST 2006

Please kindly post this CFP. Thanks.

CFP – AAA 2006, San Jose, California

Panel: The Force of Standards: rules and regulations as imagined and inscribed

Panel Abstract:
Recent scholarly debates on globalization and neoliberalism have highlighted
issues of governmentality. Standards, often described as “global standards” or
“international standards,” are instrumental in what scholars have called the
new type of normative governmentality, and present themselves as a hegemonic
force. Standards are channeled through various institutions such as the
International Organization of Standards and/or the European Union as well as
popular and historical understandings and imaginations of the “West.” They are
charged with values that reflect a global hierarchy and are complicit with the
reproduction of global inequality. Furthermore, paired with “audit,” standards
and standardization also speak to issues of accountability.
	The panel engages questions regarding the impact of standardization in a global
context in which rules and regulations appear as an imagined and inscribed
commodity. Standards, rules, and regulations have become commodities with
producers and consumers. They are not only created by institutions for
non-profit, but also more increasingly by organizations and communities seeking
profits. In particular, the end of colonial rules and the Cold War has further
facilitated developmental projects (and modernization projects) under the
neoliberal framework triumphing Western capitalism. Countries in postsocialist
or postcolonial environments, for instance, have been facing issues of
standardization to survive and compete in the global market. Under such
circumstances, standards that originate or are believed to originate from the
West have normative power. They have been playing significant roles both in the
level of bureaucratic systems and everyday life. What are the mechanisms in
which “Western” standards are not only imposed externally (or from the top) and
but also engaged and adopted actively internally (or from the bottom) during
these socio-economic development processes? Who are the producers and consumers
of these standards, and what do they gain from making and following these rules?
At the same time, what are the consequences of not adhering to such standards?
        By drawing from ethnographic research to explore critical intersections
among different geographical foci, the papers in this panel discuss the
voluntary/involuntary imposition and adoption of standards in various local
contexts. In this regard, we explore ideas about the role of “the West,”
normative governmentality in regard to issues of control, the interplay between
control and circumvention of standards, the consequences when standards are
circumvented or not observed, and issues of accountability under such
circumstances. Through these questions, the panel aims at exploring ways in
which agency can or cannot exercise its power thereby occupying a space in
these processes. Is globalization indeed inevitable as some scholars argue? How
do ideas on standards and standardization relate to ongoing discussions on
globalization and its presumed homogenization process?
	We invite papers that speak to these issues and engage in further discussion on
the ongoing globalization debates.
        If interested, please contact Yuson Jung (jung at fas.harvard.edu) with an
abstract of maximum 250 words by March 27. 2006.

Yuson Jung
Ph.D. Candidate, Dept. of Anthropology, Harvard University
33 Kirkland St., Cambridge, MA 02138
Email: jung at fas.harvard.edu; yusonjung at hotmail.com

More information about the URBANTH-L mailing list