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Live Recording  
The rise of technomoral governance: anthropological insights into value-laden scales of evidence
Raul Gerardo Acosta Garcia (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)
Insa Koch (London School of Economics)
Cris Shore (Goldsmiths, University of London)
Time zone:
Friday 24 July, 11:00-12:45, 14:00-15:45

Short abstract:

The translation of moral projects into technically implementable terms has become a recurrent strategy for policymaking. We seek cases around the world to identify common features, attempt further theorizations, and reflect on our discipline's potential contribution to better understand this trend.

Long abstract:

Around the world, public issues are increasingly dealt with through technomoral means (Bernstein and Sharma 2016). That is, political tactics prioritize moral projects and then translate these into technically implementable terms through policies or laws. These processes challenge the neoliberal mantra of 'evidence-based policies' as an assurance of neutrality. From political entrepreneurs to non-governmental organisations and activists to bureaucratic measures and new legislation, different actors and processes have promoted value-laden interventions. Of course, anthropologists have long disputed claims of objectivity in policy making. If policies have always been political "under the cloak of neutrality" (Shore and Wright 2005), then what makes the current trend different is its explicit endorsement of a moral agenda. This, in turn, adds new layers of complexity to Foucault's dictum of power and knowledge as forms of control. While ideologies have always shaped much of our understanding of political arenas, technomoralities replace the old dichotomy of left/right with one of right/wrong. We invite submissions that discuss examples of technomoral governance around the world, and how anthropologists can better understand the negotiations between knowledge, values, and public good involved. We will guide our discussions, but not limit them, to the following questions: how far are technical implementable terms stretched to fit moral projects? To what extent does techno-morality invite a displacement of a politics of redistribution and equality? And how does techno-morality sit with the 'post-truth- turn, including the rise of populism and a rejection of exert knowledge?

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