2. Agenda : Thesis, Ideas of Focus, Claims/ Assumptions, Method


Enter a comma separated list of user names.
April 4, 2020
In response to:

The website shows its mission statement as, "to bring in visibility and transparency into urban local governance and enable data-based decision making in cities." They aim to solve the 'Urban Data Problem' - the lack of granular data about city life due to data not being collected in a systematic manner. 

The data presented is collated, scraped, RTI-sourced and crowdsourced. The journalism, the data gathering, and civic engagement is supported by grants and reader funding only. 

While the reach of OpenCity is limited to Bengaluru, it reflects civic problems and government red-taping in any other city. As a city grows, problems like poor quality of roads, garbage not being picked up, lack of dependable piped water supply, the traffic, schooling, challenges of opening a small business arise and they are not endemic in Bengaluru. Analysis of problem-solution/reaction in one city can help develop resources adaptive to any other city. 

OpenCity works on core principles of citizen-science, with the society contributing to the information presented and consuming the same information on governance to be more proactive.

May 14, 2019
The method of analysis is through the uses of cases. They refer to the works of a multitude of scholars, who have themselves studied particular events of violence, corruption, and crime within the post-colony. The first stem is showing the presence of judicial elements amidst the site of violation. Presences could be through opportunities made by or encouraged by legal parties, the deliberate using of legal means for dubious ends or the opportune suspension of particular legalities for wholly different reasons creating disorder in its wake. The point fundamentally made is is that lawlessness bares the figure prints of lawful procedure.
The argument is scaled up when illegal activities are analyzed in tandem with particular post-colony histories. It is shown, again through cases, that economic frameworks of privatized opportunity and systemic disadvantage encourage markets of illegal activity, particular to the larger socio-economic labor patterns of each jurisdictional area. Adding to this the conclusion of the earlier point, it is shown that global economic calls for further dispersed control and the strengthening of the free market. In post-colonial states, that bears the imprint of imperial economic suzerainty, often have non-centralized governments that are primed for the promotion of young economies. Such a setting is exacerbated global market trends, making premium sites of opportunity both from a top-down and bottom-up point of view. The
The final leg of the argument rests on a linking of legal structure to economic opportunity. The argument is slick here, drawing more from the ideas of economic and political thinkers rather than a post-colonial case study. Legal activity is quickly shown to be an act of objectifying and they're creating the opportunity of sovereignty. Likewise, the trend of promoting privatized distributed power is an act of diffusing of an oligarchic distribution of power into a more democratically arranged one. Between the two principles, processes are set into motion where ruthless economic exploitation is made into a cultural industry and control of the same is weakened to the point of being exploited by the same culture.
May 14, 2019
The tension between citizens and populations is central to the book. The former are subject of the nation-state, while the latter are objects of the welfare state. However this distinction though conceptually neat plays out very differently on the ground. Chatterjee goes into the logic of its conceptual segregation and the sociobiology of their overlapping in the real world. Moreover, the first point that  Chatterjee strives to make, is that the nation-state creates both these categories. It does for its own proliferation and the resulting reality often feeds into the logic of the state. The extent of this point clashed with the neatly segregated notion. Both notions do agree that nation-state creates the two categories. However, the idea of segregation gives the implication that populations only exist within the parameters of welfare, and that such a category does not play out in the day to day functioning of the nation-state where civil society, as in citizens,  functions. The shift in Chatterjee's argument is to move away from notions of welfare and citizenship and focus on linking the nation-state and governmentality           
Governmentality is shown to be a legitimate aspect of the state functioning simply because it addresses two specific limitations built into the condition of a nation. The first is that the state must find a menses to address those identities that marginal to dominate framework. The key word here is mobilization. To treat all such identities as individual citizens are to lose sight of the fundamental contractions between the dominant and the marginal. Thus the social mobilization incorporates the identities as a population group into the national structure while also keeping the contradiction in focus. The second reason has to to do with limited resources. 
Political society is thus an acknowledgment of the governmental tendencies nation-state. It is also a means of incorporating population groups into proper political thought and consideration. 
May 14, 2019
The core methodological concept nearly all of Busch's analysis stems from is that of authority. Busch asserts that standards are a form of moral, political, economic and technical authority. The rest of the book examines each type of authority, emphasizing a the connive situational strands. It also elaborates upon the nature of this authority itself. In this, he traces the kind of authoritative function standards have played on a historical level. During the enlightenment standards played the role of universalizing conduct, concepts, and mechanisms, this was the fundamental nature of its authority. In the modern era, differentiation becomes a more dominant aspect. Through differentiation, standards accuse a higher level of scrutiny, monitoring, and regulation through devices such as audits, certification. There is a shift from manufacturing a regulative common or general, to an evaluating of the individual.
Two adjacent concepts to these qualities of authority is that of choice and information mobility. Pertaining to the former, Busch analysis of standards finds that choices, decisions, trends all aspects at play, are not opposed to standards, especially in operation. Busch shows choices or  'play' in general is not restricted but rather created. Versions of deceptions and conducts are manufactured by the nature of its authority. Inversely it this ability to create a play that feeds into and bolsterers standards nature of authority. Between the two comes protocols and procedures, especially in reactive instances such as medical prognosis, where the best version of a choice has to be made admits a plethora of options. In this information mobility becomes key. Standards allow for a common semiotic system. Any new choice, information or action that takes place in the limited occasion, need only be translated into the common signifiers in order to be made legible to the whole system and its actors.
Taking these three concepts of standards, Busch augments them as to apply to neoliberal institutions, political thought, and socio-technical systems. It is here that Busch methodology truly comes forth. Just as he draws common threads between the functioning of standards in various institutions, he simultaneously does the same for the neoliberal institutions that they operate within. The thrust of his argument is to show that both neoliberal logic and conduct, and the ubiquitous standards that inhabit the various conditions of social life, are intertwined in a dynamic relationship, setting of trends of growth, the notion of development and forms of choice. The extent of the is dynamic relation is best shown through sites of contention where standards in achieving safety, justice or even health can vary according to locative conditions. 
May 14, 2019
Scott's work covers vast areas of human history, ingenuity, policy, and structure. In this Scott's own effort ironically, is in an exercise in making visible the operations statecrafts' legibility and the consequences of the same. His examples work as clusters, each illustrating a key pattern, the reiteration of key ideas. Authoritarian High- Modernism becomes the key concept that pins down the functioning of legibility in all its complex manifestations. To be sure this concept both refers to and is deployed with the western historical framework, and is thus less a theoretical suggestion, and more a conceptual characterization. Authoritarian High- Modernism runs through the book, connecting to various historical events and practices, however breaking down its use in the book, and restricting its connection to the object of legibility, their key idea's can named. They are a simplification, direction, and preference. Before expanding on the three, a word on the method of their articulation is required. Scott traces the prevalence of these ideas in political policy, scientific analysis, technological function, and social practice. In each instance is chosen with the aim of illustrating one or more of these ideas. Thus, beginning with the idea of simplification, Scott shows how the functioning of the map which simplifies the complexity of located environment into mere topographic and navigational features, functions similarly to agricultural scientific research, which often simplifies complex pedological, vegetational process and features into controllable variables. The second aspect of direction, Scott points out is a particular feature of the modern state. While earlier statecraft argent had the agenda of extending and marinating power over society, modern arrangement's have the implicit notion of bettering society. That is, with the agenda and function of directing society towards a preferred formation or conduct. It is here that preference comes into play. This direction or betterment is not merely conversed but sold, where the social entities are taught to prefer the direction. Thus scientific reformation is not merely followed but is made to be expected and preferred. What this means, however, is that the social entities come to adopt the many simplifications made by the statecraft. To 'see' in another away is not only to contradict but is to impede direction, thus Authoritarian High- Modernism covers both repressive and ideological tactics of legitimizing arrangements.
What must be noted here is that Authoritarian High- Modernism is ultimately a form of knowledge that the statecraft both subscribers and prescribes. This knowledge is communicable and replicable for it approaches situations in its forms and is, itself a formulaic. Technê, Epistêmê, are the predominant conceptual aspects of this knowledge and Scott remarks that Western civilization has favored the two. Scott offers a challenge to the two, which is explored in the final section of the book. The concept is that of Mētis which involves experiential knowledge. The difference Scott points out is that such experiential gained sustain contact with the studied situation pay due attention to the complex relationships present in the situation. Moreover, the perceived or learned complexity is left intact as it can not be communicated without proximate experience.
May 14, 2019

Knorr Cetina's challenge to the limitations of the first approach though revisited throughout the paper is provided an alternative by her illustrating the aspects of the 'rational action as practiced' approach in the analysis of lab experiments in particle physics and molecular biology. However this analysis if first primed by her elaborating on the features of the said approach, in this key move made by Knorr Cetina is replacing the notion of the outcome has holding epistemic or rational value, with the that of having a sense of having a truth-finding objective. Now rationality is deployed to achieve an objective and thus can be traced in its method of deployment. With the move from value to objective, Knorr Cetina renders the lab space into a social argument, with actors and mechanisms working towards institutionalized function. However, she does not lose sight of the intricate complexity lab space nor the weight of the claim made by its outcomes. She manages this by bolstering the notion of the 'epistemic' thus placing knowledge creation and function front and center of all analysis. The subtler move made here is epistemology is less analogies to notions of rationality as mere idea's of knowledge was, a coupling solidified within the reason as resource approach. This separation followed by a connecting of rationality to context, a significate limitation of the former approach as elaborated by the author. The context was always seen to have an external influence on rational choices but was never insignificant in the internal situation of choosing. This is rectified through promoting the hollowed out notion of context to the operations of culture. The idea of culture encompasses action, though, and tradition, all bound by situation and intent. Thus the actions taken in the lab, with their goal of truth finding, are read through the lens of culture, binding reason to the contextual dissection and arrangements being made. The agenda here is to achieve a more compressive understanding of reasoning bound by its connection to situation and knowledge and not as an ideal operation.     

April 22, 2019

Taking from this idea of lab studies as 'change', Knorr Cetina's crucial thesis is that there a shift from "the context of justification" to "the context of discovery" which lab studies is emblematic of. Through this Knorr Cetina differentiates lab studies from the study of experiments, which was the main focus in the ''context of justification". Knorr Cetina treats this change as both a drawing of attention to aspects of knowledge hitherto overlooked, and as redrawing of as knowledge convicted and created.    

What is key here is that lab studies offer key methodologies that make and sustain such a shift in understanding.  Given that this is a chapter introducing lab studies, the method is to trace these methodological features of lab studies systematically and each features epistemic or ontological implications on knowledge. What is of note here is that the lab is a condition of scientific knowledge production and is thus more than the operation principles of an experiment. Thus 'lab' is as much a toll of lab studies as it is the title object.