Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

  • European Commission
  • CORDIS
  • Projects and Results
  • Final Report Summary - MONITORING (Monitoring modernity: A comparative analysis of practices of social imagination in the monitoring of global flows of goods, capital and persons)
ERC

MONITORING Report Summary

Project ID: 283679
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Country: Netherlands

Final Report Summary - MONITORING (Monitoring modernity: A comparative analysis of practices of social imagination in the monitoring of global flows of goods, capital and persons)

Routine monitoring has long been a crucial aspect of the daily governance of systems for the management and, indeed, the imagination of society. Indeed, one hallmark of modernity is society’s ability to observe itself—meaning, social actors’ reflexive efforts at self-aware practices for managing the systems that constitute society. This project has researched what it calls 'monitoring ecologies' in three fields: migration management, financial oversight, and the monitoring of climate change. The project emphasizes the importance of the performative effects of monitoring practices, i.e., it has shown how the realities that are monitored are altered by the ways they are being monitored.

Based on various forms of qualitative fieldwork, including interviews and ethnography, the different subprojects have investigated the everyday practice of monitoring in the fields of climate monitoring, financial oversight, and migration monitoring. In all cases, the projects have shown how the calibration of monitoring practices amounts to the calibration of ways of seeing and imagining the world. In other words,. the very constitution of the object of monitoring depends in crucial ways on the ways the practical, everyday and routine activities of monitoring are organized and conducted. In the case of financial oversight, for instance, a study conducted at the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) showed the complexity in attributing flows of capital to national institutions. A highly complex differentiation between foreign, domestic, international and local banks is at work there, and this differentiation is contingent upon both the availability of data and on conventions devised at the BIS and elsewhere. In the case of climate monitoring, the constitution of the object of monitoring became visible in the definition of 'essential climate variables', which facilitate a truly global monitoring of climate in the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS). In migration monitoring, a study of the ways in which the 'integration' of immigrants is calibrated showed the normativities inherent in defining what 'integration' means, as well as in sorting out who does and does not become a candidate for immigrant integration monitoring. Taken together, these projects have yielded a better understanding of the contingent, everyday work of crafting images of social reality through which larger social imaginaries become both possible and plausible.

Reported by

ERASMUS UNIVERSITEIT ROTTERDAM
Netherlands
Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top