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Standards and standardisation: the social construction of uniformity
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 21:20 authored by Adrian Vergara Jimenez
The thesis challenges the common assumption of standardisation as a technical and objective process. Using the standard ISO 26000 as a case study, the research questions the legitimacy of standards and standardisers and analyse the qualitative changes they generate. Standards are observed through the lenses of the sociology of scientific knowledge (SSK) and science and technology studies (STS). These two disciplines contribute to understand how knowledge is constructed and how certain views about the world come to count as correct within society. Likewise, a closer look to the history of objectivity and the rhetoric of precision unveil the pre-eminence of a technical absolutism supported by the trust in audits and quantification. Building upon the notion of performativity and collateral realities, the research questions the world that is enacted through standards. By analysing empirical data, the last chapter identifies common practices that, driven by ISO standards, create a particular type of uniformity. Moreover, by tracing the CSR history and the influence of the corporate culture, the thesis identifies some qualitative changes generated by management systems and ISO 26000. This a project that sets the path for future empirical investigation in social standards and CSR as a new field of global power formation.