‘Seeing like a Survey’ – Discussion Seminar with John Law

How does the inventory of modern methods shape our knowledge of society and subsequently society itself?

Professor John Law has been investigating this question for more than a decade. As one of the central characters in the growing research agenda ‘Social Life of Methods’, John has explored how scientists’ selection of methods represents a non-innocent choice that extends far beyond simply choosing the most fitting tool. In this seminar we ask John to exemplify this evolving and exciting new field through his article ‘Seeing like a survey’ before we initiate a joint discussion of the goal for such self-examination: Should the ‘Social Life of Methods’ simply be a way of increasing reflexivity in an already reflexive sociology? Or should it, as Mike Savage has recently argued, be seen as a critical agenda that can help us “rethink our theoretical and methodological repertoires” in a time when traditional sociological tools are losing authority?

Time: Wednesday 12. November, 12:30 – 14:00
Place: CSS 16.2.55

The session is open to all, but registration beforehand at Tbo@soc.ku.dk is required.

Optional readings in preparation for the seminar:

Savage, M. “The ‘Social Life of Methods’: A Critical Introduction.” Theory, Culture & Society 30, no. 4 (July 1, 2013): 3–21. doi:10.1177/0263276413486160.

Law, J. “Seeing Like a Survey.” Cultural Sociology 3, no. 2 (July 1, 2009): 239–56. doi:10.1177/1749975509105533.