Learning from Experiments in Optimization: Post-Critical Perspectives on Monitoring and Evaluation

Brit Ross Winthereik, Casper Bruun Jensen

Publikation: Artikel i tidsskrift og konference artikel i tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


This article examines attempts by professionals in the Danish branch of the environmental NGO NatureAid to optimize their practice by developing a local standard. Describing these efforts as an experiment in optimization, we outline a post-critical alternative to critiques that centre on the reductive effects of management and audit. The notion that reduction is inherently negative fails to recognize that achieving specific forms of reduction is often the reflexive aim of standardization. Rather than resisting monitoring and evaluation, the environmental consultants we study try to create a system capable of constraining their work in the right way.
Focusing on this experiment in optimization allows us to redescribe audit as a varied set of practices and aspirations, embedded in standards that generate relative, forms of organizational transparency and opacity. This offers a view of management as ‘broken up;’ as a distributed, ambient activity, variably performed by different actors using different standards.
TidsskriftJournal of Cultural Economy
Sider (fra-til)251-264
StatusUdgivet - 2017


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