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Negotiating impartial indicators: putting transparency into practice in the EU
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Anthropology. Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stockholm Centre for Organizational Research (SCORE).
2012 (English)In: Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, ISSN 1359-0987, E-ISSN 1467-9655, Vol. 18, no 2, 311-329 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Over the last twenty years, statistics and indicators have come to be closely associated with the notion of transparency. The argument is based on a view that indicators make policy outcomes transparent, as objectively revealed in statistical diagrams and tables. Indicators are, however, politically and culturally loaded. This becomes especially evident in an international organization such as the European Union (EU). The article shows that the production of EU statistics is characterized by a practice of transparency wherein EU bureaucrats must handle two seemingly incompatible logics. There is bureaucratic logic, which refers to the indicators that are seen as representing reality objective and politically neutral. Running parallel is the logic of cultural intimacy, in which the material that is made transparent is based upon what an EU member state wants to keep to itself and not reveal to the entire EU. This practice enables the quest for politically neutral indicators to live on, while at the same time providing room for politically and culturally negotiated indicators.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 18, no 2, 311-329 p.
Keyword [en]
transparency, indicators, bureaucratic logic
National Category
Social Anthropology
Research subject
Social Anthropology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-74313DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9655.2012.01745.xISI: 000303442600004OAI: diva2:507814
Available from: 2012-03-06 Created: 2012-03-06 Last updated: 2012-10-11Bibliographically approved

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Thedvall, Renita
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ReferencesLink to record
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