Campbell’s Law and the Ethics of Immensurability
- 508 Downloads
The paper examines “Campbell’s Law”: “The more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decision-making, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social processes it is intended to monitor.” The examination of measurability leads to explaining the reason for existence of a class of unmeasurable phenomena. The author describes a kind of habitus in which a strong taboo against measuring must exist by necessity, not by choice. The taboo is, in effect, a result of degradation of a certain kind of habitus. And finally, the paper demonstrates under which conditions the Campbell’s law is in effect, and how we can mitigate its effects in social decision-making.
KeywordsCampbell’s law Bourdieu Measurability Immensurability
- Bourdieu, P. 1998. Practical reason: On the theory of action. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
- Campbell, D.T. 1976. Assessing the impact of planned social change. Hanover, NH: The Public Affairs Center, Dartmouth College. http://goo.gl/AAaPx.
- Hardt, M. 1999. Affective labour. Boundary 2 26(2):89–100.Google Scholar
- Koretz, D. 1998. Measuring up: What educational testing really tells us. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Nichols, S.L., and D.C. Berliner. 2007. Collateral damage: How high-stakes testing corrupts America’s schools. Cambridge: Harvard Education Press.Google Scholar
- Polanyi, K. 1957. The great transformation: The political and economic origins of our time. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
- Premack, D., and A. Premack. 2003. Original intelligence. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
- Rothstein, M. 2010. What makes a great teacher?. Providence, RI: Public forum by the Rhode Island Foundation and WRNI.Google Scholar
- This American Life. 2010. Right to remain silent. http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/414/right-to-remain-silent..
- Wilson, J.Q. 1989. Bureaucracy: What government agencies do and why they do it. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar