On the Contest of Lists and Their Organizing Capacities

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List making is a non-narrative social practice, whose significance for our ways of organizing the world today is generally underestimated. Lists come about in multiple ways, take on a variety of forms and are used differently relative to space and time. They are developed to coordinate and control reality, as well as to represent it, making certain features of reality visible or invisible, and to consolidate or criticize prevailing representations. This paper examines the organizing work undertaken by list making in the creation, circulation and consumption of rankings and blacklists deployed by state and civil society actors in contemporary transnational governance domains. Researchers exploring contemporary organizational settings tend to understand lists mainly as topdown disciplinary technologies. The paper problematizes that view by looking into recent literatures on stat-activism and data-activism. It develops the concepts of list contests and data controversies to illuminate how lists become entangled in wider struggles for power, truth and hegemony. To illustrate, the paper mainly draws on material from an ongoing empirical study of the use of blacklists and rankings in the contemporary governance of tax havens and corporate tax avoidance and tax evasion.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2017
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventThe 33rd EGOS Colloquium 2017: The Good Organization - Copenhagen Business School, Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 6 Jul 20178 Jul 2017
Conference number: 33


ConferenceThe 33rd EGOS Colloquium 2017
LocationCopenhagen Business School
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