Standards and Their Stories

How Quantifying, Classifying, and Formalizing Practices Shape Everyday Life

Standards and Their Stories

Standardization is one of the defining aspects of modern life, its presence so pervasive that it is usually taken for granted. However cumbersome, onerous, or simply puzzling certain standards may be, their fundamental purpose in streamlining procedures, regulating behaviors, and predicting results is rarely questioned. Indeed, the invisibility of infrastructure and the imperative of standardizing processes signify their absolute necessity. Increasingly, however, social scientists are beginning to examine the origins and effects of the standards that underpin the technology and practices of everyday life.Standards and Their Stories explores how we interact with the network of standards that shape our lives in ways both obvious and invisible. The main chapters analyze standardization in biomedical research, government bureaucracies, the insurance industry, labor markets, and computer technology, providing detailed accounts of the invention of "standard humans" for medical testing and life insurance actuarial tables, the imposition of chronological age as a biographical determinant, the accepted means of determining labor productivity, the creation of international standards for the preservation and access of metadata, and the global consequences of "ASCII imperialism" and the use of English as the lingua franca of the Internet.Accompanying these in-depth critiques are a series of examples that depict an almost infinite variety of standards, from the controversies surrounding the European Union's supposed regulation of banana curvature to the minimum health requirements for immigrants at Ellis Island, conflicting (and ever-increasing) food portion sizes, and the impact of standardized punishment metrics like "Three Strikes" laws. The volume begins with a pioneering essay from Susan Leigh Star and Martha Lampland on the nature of standards in everyday life that brings together strands from the several fields represented in the book. In an appendix, the editors provide a guide for teaching courses in this emerging interdisciplinary field, which they term "infrastructure studies," making Standards and Their Stories ideal for scholars, students, and those curious about why coffins are becoming wider, for instance, or why the Financial Accounting Standards Board refused to classify September 11 as an "extraordinary" event.

Sex, Drugs, and Body Counts

The Politics of Numbers in Global Crime and Conflict

Sex, Drugs, and Body Counts

At least 200,000-250,000 people died in the war in Bosnia. "There are three million child soldiers in Africa." "More than 650,000 civilians have been killed as a result of the U.S. occupation of Iraq." "Between 600,000 and 800,000 women are trafficked across borders every year." "Money laundering represents as much as 10 percent of global GDP." "Internet child porn is a $20 billion-a-year industry." These are big, attention-grabbing numbers, frequently used in policy debates and media reporting. Peter Andreas and Kelly M. Greenhill see only one problem: these numbers are probably false. Their continued use and abuse reflect a much larger and troubling pattern: policymakers and the media naively or deliberately accept highly politicized and questionable statistical claims about activities that are extremely difficult to measure. As a result, we too often become trapped by these mythical numbers, with perverse and counterproductive consequences. This problem exists in myriad policy realms. But it is particularly pronounced in statistics related to the politically charged realms of global crime and conflict-numbers of people killed in massacres and during genocides, the size of refugee flows, the magnitude of the illicit global trade in drugs and human beings, and so on. In Sex, Drugs, and Body Counts, political scientists, anthropologists, sociologists, and policy analysts critically examine the murky origins of some of these statistics and trace their remarkable proliferation. They also assess the standard metrics used to evaluate policy effectiveness in combating problems such as terrorist financing, sex trafficking, and the drug trade.

Dollmakers and Their Stories

Women Who Changed the World of Play

Dollmakers and Their Stories

"Dolls are not a luxury. They are as necessary to a child's life as a loaf of bread . . . What a doll does for a little girl is develop her capacity to love others and herself." -Madame Alexander A wonderful offering for young doll enthusiasts and women's history buffs alike This fascinating book tells the stories of courageous dollmakers, all of whom were-and continue to be-filled with passion, vision, and determination. They are the unsung heroines behind some of the most important dolls of the last hundred years-such as Barbie (Ruth Handler) and Madame Alexander's collection (Beatrice Alexander). Entrepreneurs and feminists of their time, these strong women displayed both creative genius and astute business acumen, serving as excellent role models for today's young female readers.

Southern Farmers and Their Stories

Memory and Meaning in Oral History

Southern Farmers and Their Stories

The industrial expansion of the twentieth century brought with it a profound shift away from traditional agricultural modes and practices in the American South. The forces of economic modernity -- specialization, mechanization, and improved efficiency -- swept through southern farm communities, leaving significant upheaval in their wake. In an attempt to comprehend the complexities of the present and prepare for the uncertainties of the future, many southern farmers searched for order and meaning in their memories of the past. In Southern Farmers and Their Stories, Melissa Walker explores the ways in which a diverse array of farmers remember and recount the past. The book tells the story of the modernization of the South in the voices of those most affected by the decline of traditional ways of life and work. Walker analyzes the recurring patterns in their narratives of change and loss, filling in gaps left by more conventional political and economic histories of southern agriculture. Southern Farmers and Their Stories also highlights the tensions inherent in the relationship between history and memory. Walker employs the concept of "communities of memory" to describe the shared sense of the past among southern farmers. History and memory converge and shape one another in communities of memory through an ongoing process in which shared meanings emerge through an elaborate alchemy of recollection and interpretation. In her careful analysis of more than five hundred oral history narratives, Walker allows silenced voices to be heard and forgotten versions of the past to be reconsidered. Southern Farmers and Their Stories preserves the shared memories and meanings of southern agricultural communities not merely for their own sake but for the potential benefit of a region, a nation, and a world that has much to learn from the lessons of previous generations of agricultural providers.

The Struggle for Equal Adulthood

Gender, Race, Age, and the Fight for Citizenship in Antebellum America

The Struggle for Equal Adulthood

In the fight for equality, early feminists often cited the infantilization of women and men of color as a method used to keep them out of power. Corinne T. Field argues that attaining adulthood--and the associated political rights, economic opportunities, and sexual power that come with it--became a common goal for both white and African American feminists between the American Revolution and the Civil War. The idea that black men and all women were more like children than adult white men proved difficult to overcome, however, and continued to serve as a foundation for racial and sexual inequality for generations. In detailing the connections between the struggle for equality and concepts of adulthood, Field provides an essential historical context for understanding the dilemmas black and white women still face in America today, from "glass ceilings" and debates over welfare dependency to a culture obsessed with youth and beauty. Drawn from a fascinating past, this book tells the history of how maturity, gender, and race collided, and how those affected came together to fight against injustice.

Standards and Schooling in the United States

An Encyclopedia

Standards and Schooling in the United States

In this definitive, three-volume set, top scholars illuminate the historical, social, cultural, political, administrative, psychological, and philosophical issues behind the standards debate. * Volumes are arranged topically and include subjects such as art, bilingual education, consequences of standards, evaluation, learning theory and cognition, multiculturalism, reductionism, and school accreditation * Over 50 top scholars illuminate the debate, provide much-needed historical context, and explain the relationship of standards to educational reform efforts * A historical chronology is given, which spans from 1892, when the Committee of Ten created uniform academic requirements for admission to college, to the Supreme Court ruling in 2001 lowering the First Amendment wall separating church and state * The encyclopedia gives a list of selected print and nonprint resources, which includes books, government publications, labor reports, websites, and organizations regarding the standards debate in the United States

Routledge Handbook of Body Studies

Routledge Handbook of Body Studies

In the last three decades, the human body has gained increasing prominence in contemporary political debates, and it has become a central topic of modern social sciences and humanities. Modern technologies – such as organ transplants, stem-cell research, nanotechnology, cosmetic surgery and cryonics – have changed how we think about the body. In this collection of thirty original essays by leading figures in the field, these issues are explored across a number of theoretical and disciplinary perspectives, including pragmatism, feminism, queer theory, post-modernism, post-humanism, cultural sociology, philosophy and anthropology. A wide range of case studies, which include cosmetics, diet, organ transplants, racial bodies, masculinity and sexuality, eating disorders, religion and the sacred body, and disability, are used to appraise these different perspectives. In addition, this Handbook explores various epistemological approaches to the basic question: what is a body? It also offers a strongly themed range of chapters on empirical topics that are organized around religion, medicine, gender, technology and consumption. It also contributes to the debate over the globalization of the body: how have military technology, modern medicine, sport and consumption led to this contemporary obsession with matters corporeal? The Handbook’s clear, direct style will appeal to a wide undergraduate audience in the social sciences, particularly for those studying medical sociology, gender studies, sports studies, disability studies, social gerontology, or the sociology of religion. It will serve to consolidate the new field of body studies.

Common Core Standards and Banned Books Week

A Thematic Guide to Introducing Banned and Challenged Books in the Classroom

Common Core Standards and Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week is celebrated the last full week in September and strives to make the public aware of books that have been banned or challenged in schools and public libraries, as well as in bookstores and other venues. Founded in 1982, the event is sponsored by the American Library Association, American Booksellers Association, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, American Society of Journalists and Authors, and the Association of American Publishers. The activities that champion the freedom to read during Banned Books Week include displays of banned or challenged books and read-outs in communities across the nation. In 2012, the American Library Association marked the 30th anniversary of Banned Books Week by asking libraries in every state to participate in a virtual read-out. Recordings of these read-outs and of writers talking about challenges to their books are posted on a Banned Books Week Channel on YouTube. Students should understand that they do have the freedom to read, and they should use this week to become aware of attempts to abridge their rights.

The Value of Labor

The Science of Commodification in Hungary, 1920-1956

The Value of Labor

At the heart of today’s fierce political anger over income inequality is a feature of capitalism that Karl Marx famously obsessed over: the commodification of labor. Most of us think wage-labor economics is at odds with socialist thinking, but as Martha Lampland explains in this fascinating look at twentieth-century Hungary, there have been moments when such economics actually flourished under socialist regimes. Exploring the region’s transition from a capitalist to a socialist system—and the economic science and practices that endured it—she sheds new light on the two most polarized ideologies of modern history. Lampland trains her eye on the scientific claims of modern economic modeling, using Hungary’s unique vantage point to show how theories, policies, and techniques for commodifying agrarian labor that were born in the capitalist era were adopted by the socialist regime as a scientifically designed wage system on cooperative farms. Paying attention to the specific historical circumstances of Hungary, she explores the ways economists and the abstract notions they traffic in can both shape and be shaped by local conditions, and she compellingly shows how labor can be commodified in the absence of a labor market. The result is a unique account of economic thought that unveils hidden but necessary continuities running through the turbulent twentieth century.

Scrambling for Africa

AIDS, Expertise, and the Rise of American Global Health Science

Scrambling for Africa

Countries in sub-Saharan Africa were once dismissed by Western experts as being too poor and chaotic to benefit from the antiretroviral drugs that transformed the AIDS epidemic in the United States and Europe. Today, however, the region is courted by some of the most prestigious research universities in the world as they search for "resource-poor" hospitals in which to base their international HIV research and global health programs. In Scrambling for Africa, Johanna Tayloe Crane reveals how, in the space of merely a decade, Africa went from being a continent largely excluded from advancements in HIV medicine to an area of central concern and knowledge production within the increasingly popular field of global health science. Drawing on research conducted in the U.S. and Uganda during the mid-2000s, Crane provides a fascinating ethnographic account of the transnational flow of knowledge, politics, and research money—as well as blood samples, viruses, and drugs. She takes readers to underfunded Ugandan HIV clinics as well as to laboratories and conference rooms in wealthy American cities like San Francisco and Seattle where American and Ugandan experts struggle to forge shared knowledge about the AIDS epidemic. The resulting uncomfortable mix of preventable suffering, humanitarian sentiment, and scientific ambition shows how global health research partnerships may paradoxically benefit from the very inequalities they aspire to redress. A work of outstanding interdisciplinary scholarship, Scrambling for Africa will be of interest to audiences in anthropology, science and technology studies, African studies, and the medical humanities.