Seeing like a survey

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



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.

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