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Order and continuity

Looking around us, we can see a remarkable proliferation of metrics, maps and models taking place today. This 3 year project is investigating the implications of these experiments in method. By conducting studies of modeling, brand valuation, the networking of digital publics and the mapping of the global cities, this project asks, what trust we can place in the use of practices of sorting, naming, numbering, and calculating as they are brought together by commercial, government and other agencies in ‘method assemblages’? Can efficacy be reconciled with reliability and validity? Do the methods being used today connect to individual or collective motivations for change? If not, what measures might do this?

As methods proliferate and come into competition with each other, the project seeks to find, if not common values, at least shared criteria by which we might evaluate methods. Finally, the project will also investigate whether and how these proliferating methods of social research are changing what they measure. It will consider whether the specific characteristics of the changes being produced in this way can be understood in terms of society becoming topological. This means it will look at the characteristics of the kinds of change produced in social processes of ordering and continuity of transformation, and investigate the implications of these for processes of social differentiation and inequality.