Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Invisible Infrastructures

Zak Stein blogged another section of his upcoming ITC paper, this one a familiar refrain of late in my blog: "The Invisible Infrastructures That Shape Our Lives and Why Social Justice Demands They Be Made Visible." I guess for the kennilinguists Stein has joined the MGM conspiracy against capitalism. Some excerpts:

"Because of standards enforced by labor contracts in factories in China, as well as inaccuracies in measures of raw material’s toxicity levels, whole populations are being poisoned and exploited, and its all being done by the book. That is, industry standards and scientific measurements are being used, often very carefully, yet their very use sanctions and legitimizes injustices—this is a very civilized form of barbarism (Harvey, 2005)."
"The claim of scientific expertise (and the display of accompanying technologies) which back large-scale measurement practices often contributes the anti-democratic ethos that surrounds the world of international standards and measurement (Busch, 2011)."

"As I will explain, the history of measurement has been a history in which the privileged and empowered have been the creators and institutionalizers, while the oppressed and powerless have had no choice but to use their master’s tools and definitions of reality (Kula, 1986; Scott, 1998). This is a pattern that continues to this day, perhaps best exemplified by current trends in educational 'reform.'"

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