Tinkering with Knowledge: Representational Practices and Scaling in U.S. Think Tanks

Christina Garsten

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract for conferenceResearch


    Think tanks, or policy institutes, are becoming significant ‘sites of normativity’ on the global political scene. While their primary concern often is to provide knowledge, based on which decision makers can make informed choices, they also play a part in setting organizational agendas and priorities, and in mobilizing for political action. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in think tanks in Washington DC, the paper engages with the modes representation used by policy experts as they strive to get traction and establish credibility for their ideas. The work of policy experts can be understood as a form of ‘bricolage,’ in which information and normative perspectives are tinkered with and are thus afforded truth-value. The use of distanciation and proximation techniques facilitates the continuous scale-making processes in which policy experts are involved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2014
    Number of pages1
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    EventThe 3rd CUFF Conference: The Cultural Logic of Facts and Figures III - Nordens Hus, Reykjavik, Iceland
    Duration: 18 Aug 201420 Aug 2014
    Conference number: 3


    ConferenceThe 3rd CUFF Conference
    LocationNordens Hus
    Internet address

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