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Rankings and Reactivity: How Public Measures Recreate Social Worlds

Espeland, Wendy; Sauder, Michael

Description

Recently, there has been a proliferation of measures responding to demands for accountability and transparency. Using the example of media rankings of law schools, this article argues that the methodological concept of reactivity - the idea that people change their behavior in reaction to being evaluated, observed, or measured- offers a useful lens for disclosing how these measures effect change. A framework is proposed for investigating the consequences, both intended and unintended, of public...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorEspeland, Wendy
dc.contributor.authorSauder, Michael
dc.date.accessioned2015-12-08T22:17:37Z
dc.identifier.issn0002-9602
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/30995
dc.description.abstractRecently, there has been a proliferation of measures responding to demands for accountability and transparency. Using the example of media rankings of law schools, this article argues that the methodological concept of reactivity - the idea that people change their behavior in reaction to being evaluated, observed, or measured- offers a useful lens for disclosing how these measures effect change. A framework is proposed for investigating the consequences, both intended and unintended, of public measures. The article first identifies two mechanisms, self-fulfilling prophecy and commensuration, that induce reactivity and then distinguishes patterns of effects produced by reactivity. This approach demonstrates how these increasingly fateful public measures change expectations and permeate institutions, suggesting why it is important for scholars to investigate the impact of these measures more systematically.
dc.publisherUniversity of Chicago Press
dc.sourceAmerican Journal of Sociology
dc.titleRankings and Reactivity: How Public Measures Recreate Social Worlds
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.identifier.citationvolume113
dc.date.issued2007
local.identifier.absfor180119 - Law and Society
local.identifier.ariespublicationu3955364xPUB79
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationEspeland, Wendy, College of Asia and the Pacific, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationSauder, Michael, University of Iowa
local.description.embargo2037-12-31
local.bibliographicCitation.issue1
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage1
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage40
local.identifier.doi10.1086/517897
dc.date.updated2015-12-08T08:09:32Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-34547700036
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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