The Metric Society and the Unmeasurable

Digging DEEPer Webinar The Metric Society and the Unmeasurable: Wednesday, April 28, 2021, 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM (EDT)

The Metric Society and the Unmeasurable

In today’s world, numbers are in the ascendancy. Societies dominated by star ratings, scores, likes and lists are rapidly emerging, as data are collected on virtually every aspect of our lives. From annual university rankings, ratings agencies and fitness tracking technologies to our credit score and health status, everything and everybody is measured and evaluated. Join Steffen Mau, Virginia Eubanks and Jutta Treviranus in conversation for a critical analysis of this increasingly pervasive phenomenon.

April 28, 2021, 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM (EDT)

The Metric Society and the Unmeasurable webinar video


Dr. Steffen Mau works in the fields of comparative welfare research, social inequality and European integration. In his most recent book, The Metric Society: On the Quantification of the Social, Steffen Mau shows how metrics have become a form of social conditioning and how the rise of quantification has strengthened social hierarchies.

Virginia Eubanks is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University at Albany, SUNY. She is the author of Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor; Digital Dead End: Fighting for Social Justice in the Information Age; and co-editor, with Alethia Jones, of Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around: Forty Years of Movement Building with Barbara Smith. Her writing about technology and social justice has appeared in Scientific American, The Nation, Harper’s, and Wired. For two decades, Eubanks has worked in community technology and economic justice movements. She was a founding member of the Our Data Bodies Project and a 2016–2017 Fellow at New America. She lives in Troy, NY.

Jutta Treviranus is the Director of the Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) and professor in the faculty of Design at OCAD University. Jutta established the IDRC in 1993 as the nexus of a growing global community that proactively works to ensure that our digitally transformed and globally connected society is designed inclusively. She also heads the Inclusive Design Institute, a multi-university regional centre of expertise. Jutta founded an innovative graduate program in inclusive design at OCAD University. She leads international multi-partner research networks that have created broadly implemented innovations that support digital equity. She has played a leading role in developing accessibility legislation, standards and specifications internationally (including W3C WAI ATAG, IMS AccessForAll, ISO 24751, and AODA Information and Communication). She serves on many advisory bodies globally to provide expertise in equitable policy design. Jutta’s work has been attributed as the impetus for the corporate adoption of more inclusive practices in large enterprise companies such as Microsoft and Adobe.

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You will learn:

  • How the rise of quantification has created and strengthened social hierarchies
  • How quantification could lead to standardization but does not necessarily capture social diversity and deviance
  • About the importance of bottom-up, community-driven initiatives in addressing the top-down mismanagement of personal data and access to social services

Learn and earn badges from this event:

  1. Watch the accessible Metric Society and the Unmeasurable webinar
  2. Apply for your Learner badge (five short answer questions on the main themes of the webinar)



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