The Open UniversitySkip to content

Seeing like a survey

Law, John (2009). Seeing like a survey. Cultural Sociology, 3(2) pp. 239–256.

DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


This article explores a performative understanding of social science method. First, it draws on STS to consider the plausibility of the claim that research methods generate not only representations of reality, but also the realities those representations depict. Second, it undertakes an archaeology of a major survey — a Eurobarometer investigation of European citizens' attitudes to farm animal welfare — in order to explore the character of its performativity. Finally, it considers some of the implications of the performativity of research tools for the future of methods in social science.

Item Type: Journal Article
Copyright Holders: 2009 BSA Publications Ltd®
ISSN: 1749-9763
Keywords: Eurobarometer; method; performativity; ontological politics; science and technology studies; survey research
Academic Unit/Department: Social Sciences > Sociology
Item ID: 21380
Depositing User: John Law
Date Deposited: 26 May 2010 11:54
Last Modified: 01 Nov 2013 13:28
Share this page:


Scopus Citations

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   + 44 (0)870 333 4340