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Social Science Methodology

The Social Life of Standards

Ethnographic Methods for Local Engagement

edited by Janice E. Graham, Christina Holmes, Fiona McDonald & Regna Darnell

UBC Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2021
Methodology, Cultural
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2021
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Apr 2021
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2022
    List Price

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Standards. We apply them, uphold them, or fail to meet them. But how do they get made? The Social Life of Standards reveals how these political and technical tools for organizing society are developed, subverted, contested, and reassembled by local communities interacting with standards created by others. Using ethnographic approaches, contributors investigate biomedical, agricultural, and other contexts that reveal the mismatch between the inconsistent implementation of standards in the real world and the non-negotiable criteria presupposed by external forces. These cases support a reflexive process that involves local engagement at every stage in the production and application of standards.

About the authors

Janice E. Graham is Professor and Canada Research Chair in Bioethics and Director of the Qualitative Research Commons & Studio (QuRCS) in the Faculty of Medicine at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Janice E. Graham's profile page

Christina Holmes is Adjunct Professor in the Department of Anthropology at St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia.

Christina Holmes' profile page

Fiona McDonald's profile page

Regna Darnell is Distinguished University Professor of Anthropology Emerita at the University of Western Ontario. She is coeditor of The Franz Boas Papers, Volume 1: Franz Boas as Public Intellectual—Theory, Ethnography, Activism (Nebraska, 2015). Darnell is the general editor of the multivolume series The Franz Boas Papers: Documentary Edition and co-editor of the Critical Studies in History of Anthropology series. 

Regna Darnell's profile page

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