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By Luigi Doria (auth.)

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Extra info for Calculating the Human: Universal Calculability in the Age of Quality Assurance

Example text

The latter, referring to Foucault (2008), note that the neo-liberal forms of governing do not 42 Calculating the Human primarily develop by standardizing, meaning the use of ‘rigid’ mechanisms to govern individuals; rather they construct spaces which are open to fluctuating processes and political unknowns. Referring to the Massumi (2009) re-reading of Foucault, Higgins and Larner also emphasize a shift from standardization and normalization to processes that are characterized by instability, spontaneity and self-organization.

Some of the domains involved include industrial products, environment,15 territorial planning and policy,16 Calculation, Quality and Life: A First Look 27 higher education and research,17 up to and including that of the quality of regulation18 (Doria, 2009). The surprising power of quality settles at the very core of European governance and significantly shapes the scene of the multilevel relationships between EU institutions and local and national actors, with the risk of reinforcing the tendency towards a techno-managerialist turn in both European action and local policy.

It is around this very elusiveness, however – even when it takes the shape of an extreme emptiness – that the greatest ‘calculative’ energy is unleashed. Then again, precisely when calculation takes place under the heading of calculation of quality, it seems to occur in an increasingly unlimited manner (as the calculation of every thing, and as the increasingly complete calculation of all things). Furthermore, this unlimited proliferation manifests itself as something that resists critical investigation in a very specific way, and tends to stand out in a basically undeniable manner.

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