Sally Engle Merry: The Seductions of Quantification: Measuring Human Rights, Gender Violence, and Sex Trafficking (Chicago Series in Law and Society)

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NcesA great intersection between the world of measurement and analysis Excellent research thoughtful important new look at old ideas the excellence we always get from Sally Merr. Icking in Persons Report which ranks countries in terms of their compliance with antitrafficking activities assumes that prosecuting traffickers as criminals is an effective corrective strategyoverlooking cultures where women and children are freuently sold by their own families As Merry shows indicators are indeed seductive in their promise of providing concrete knowledge about how the world works but they are implemented most successfully when paired with context rich ualitative accounts grounded in local knowled.

Ng we sometimes forget by choice or by accident is that any analysis done with incorrect data is inherently incorrect And any conclusionsactions may not have the intended conseue. Tion leading legal anthropologist Sally Engle Merry investigates the techniues by which information is gathered and analyzed in the production of global indicators on human rights gender violence and sex trafficking Although such numbers convey an aura of objective truth and scientific validity Merry argues persuasively that measurement systems constitute a form of power by incorporating theories about social change in their design but rarely explicitly acknowledging them For instance the US State Departments Traff.

As a data scientist I find this book fascinating Nothing intrigues me than the ability to learn from and formulate actionspolicies from data about poor countries However somethi. We live in a world where seemingly everything can be measured We rely on indicators to translate social phenomena into simple uantified terms which in turn can be used to guide individuals organizations and governments in establishing policy Yet counting things reuires finding a way to make them comparable And in the process of translating the confusion of social life into neat categories we inevitably strip it of context and meaningand risk hiding or distorting as much as we reveal With The Seductions of uantifica.

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