A free ebook version of this title is available through Luminos, University of California Press’s Open Access publishing program for monographs. Visit
www.luminosoa.org to learn more.
Wherever we turn, we see diverse things scaled for us, from cities to economies, from history to love. We know scale by many names and through many familiar antinomies:
macroevents to name a few. Even the most critical among us often proceed with our analysis as if such scales were the ready-made platforms of social life, rather than asking how, why, and to what effect are scalar distinctions forged in the first place.
do scalar distinctions help actors and analysts alike make sense of and navigate their social worlds? What do these distinctions reveal and what do they conceal? How are scales construed and what effects do they have on the way those who abide by them think and act? This pathbreaking volume attends to the practical labor of scale-making and the communicative practices this labor requires. From an ethnographic perspective, the authors demonstrate that scale is practice and process before it becomes product, whether in the work of projecting the commons, claiming access to the big picture, or scaling the seriousness of a crime.
E. Summerson Carr is Associate Professor, School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago.
Michael Lempert is Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Michigan.