Standards: Recipes for Reality

Standards: Recipes for Reality

by Lawrence Busch
     
 

ISBN-10: 0262016389

ISBN-13: 9780262016384

Pub. Date: 10/07/2011

Publisher: MIT Press

Standards are the means by which we construct realities. There are established standards for professional accreditation, for the environment, for consumer products, for animal welfare, for the acceptable stress for highway bridges, for healthcare, for education—for almost everything. We are surrounded by a vast array of standards, many of which we take for

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Overview

Standards are the means by which we construct realities. There are established standards for professional accreditation, for the environment, for consumer products, for animal welfare, for the acceptable stress for highway bridges, for healthcare, for education—for almost everything. We are surrounded by a vast array of standards, many of which we take for granted but each of which has been and continues to be the subject of intense negotiation. In this book, Lawrence Busch investigates standards as "recipes for reality." Standards, he argues, shape not only the physical world around us but also our social lives and even our selves. Busch shows how standards are intimately connected to power—that they often serve to empower some and disempower others. He outlines the history of formal standards and describes how modern science came to be associated with the moral-technical project of standardization of both people and things. He examines the use of standards to differentiate and how this affects our perceptions; he discusses the creation of a global system of audits, certifications, and accreditations; and he considers issues of trust, honesty, and risk. After exploring the troubled coexistence of standards and democracy, Busch suggests guidelines for developing fair, equitable, and effective standards. Taking a uniquely integrated and comprehensive view of the subject, Busch shows how standards for people and things are inextricably linked, how standards are always layered (even if often addressed serially), and how standards are simultaneously technical, social, moral,legal, and ontological devices.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780262016384
Publisher:
MIT Press
Publication date:
10/07/2011
Series:
Infrastructures Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
402
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Table of Contents

Prologue vii

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction 1

1 The Power of Standards 17

2 Standardizing the World 77

3 From Standardization to Standardized Differentiation 151

4 Certified, Accredited, Licensed, Approved 201

5 Standards, Ethics, and Justice 239

6 Standards and Democracy 269

Conclusions: Another Road to Serfdom? 289

Notes 311

References 321

Index 353

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