Metrics in Environmental Governance: Toward a Critical Analysis of Accountability. Part 1

Monday, 16 July 2018: 10:30-12:20
RC40 Sociology of Agriculture and Food (host committee)
RC23 Sociology of Science and Technology
RC24 Environment and Society

Language: English

Analysis of metrics, and standards more generally, has emerged as an important focus within studies of environmental governance.  Heightened attention to metrics has accompanied increasing emphasis on market-based and outcome-based policy designs, but bureaucratic modes of governance have long been predicated on the specification of categories and systems of representation. Metrics can be understood as a resource for democratic accountability, and they can be instruments of authoritarian discipline at a distance. Metrics support empirical analysis and policy learning, but at the same time they obscure knowledge claims, technical uncertainty, and alternative problem definitions. This ambiguity demands attention. Analysis of the metrics of governance, and the governance of metrics, presents opportunities for theoretical and empirical engagement on questions of "Power, Violence, and Justice: Reflections, Responses, and Responsibilities"(2018 ISA Theme). 

This collaboration between aims to realize topical, theoretical, and methodological synergies. Linkages between environment and agrifood production and consumption are highlighted in the biological and land-based nature of farming (inputs to agriculture) and by the negative implications of agriculture for water, biodiversity, and climate (outputs of agriculture). Attention to interdependence among discursive constructs, local action, political economic structures, and multiply scaled material flows characterize both the sociology of environment and agrifood sociology. Science and Technology Studies has served to highlight the socially embedded nature of technical acts including promulgation of standards. Further, this field has championed a methodological commitment to analysis of (grounded, local, actor-centered) practice as a complement to analyses of design (abstract representations).

Session Organizers:
Steven WOLF, Cornell University, USA, Allison LOCONTO, INRA (LISIS) / Université Paris-Est, France, Koichi HASEGAWA, Tohoku University, Japan, Debra DAVIDSON, University of Alberta, Canada, Nadia ASHEULOVA, Institute for the History of Science and Technology, SPb Branch, Russian Academy of Scienc, Russia and Gary BOWDEN, University of New Brunswick, Canada
Oral Presentations
Metrics of Open Government in Mexican Fisheries
Ana HAYASHIDA, Causa Natura A.C., Mexico; José Eduardo ROLÓN SÁNCHEZ, Causa Natura A.C., Mexico; Virginia LEAL, Causa Natura A.C., Mexico
Negotiating the “Social License to Farm”: Lessons in Civic Accountability and Legitimacy Process in New Zealand
James HALE, University of Otago, New Zealand; Katharine LEGUN, University of Otago, New Zealand; Hugh CAMPBELL, University of Otago, New Zealand
Distributed Papers
State Legitimation and Environmental Crisis in China
Ecological and Management Dimensions of Metric Production in Conservation Banking
Stéphanie BARRAL, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, France