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Tinkering with knowledge: representational practices and scaling in U.S. think tanks
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Anthropology. Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stockholm Centre for Organizational Research (SCORE).
2014 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Think tanks, or policy institutes, are becoming significant ‘sites of normativity’ on the global political scene. While their primary concern often is to provide knowledge, based on which decision makers can make informed choices, they also play a part in setting organizational agendas and priorities, and in mobilizing for political action. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in think tanks in Washington DC, the paper engages with the modes representation used by policy experts as they strive to get traction and establish credibility for their ideas. The work of policy experts can be understood as a form of ‘bricolage,’ in which information and normative perspectives are tinkered with and are thus afforded truth-value. The use of distanciation and proximation techniques facilitates the continuous scale-making processes in which policy experts are involved.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
think tanks, knowledge, representation
National Category
Social Anthropology
Research subject
Social Anthropology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-110322OAI: diva2:770572
CUFF – The Cultural Logic of Facts and Figures, 3rd Conference, Reykjavik, August 18-20, 2014
Organizing Markets
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond
Available from: 2014-12-10 Created: 2014-12-10 Last updated: 2015-02-11Bibliographically approved

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Garsten, Christina
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Department of Social AnthropologyStockholm Centre for Organizational Research (SCORE)
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ReferencesLink to record
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