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Digital marbling

Emmanuel Didier will animate this research seminar; he will present the stakes of the sociology of quantification and will propose a discussion about his article "La marbrure numérique".

Event, Research Seminar


In this talk, Emmanuel Didier will try to show that the sociology of quantification is not a simple sub-domain of the sociology of science, but that it offers tools to study most social situations in an interesting and rich way. He will first propose a new definition of quantification. Then, he will show that numbers trace marbling in society that provides sociologists with particularly interesting heuristic catches. He will then propose a typology of marbling, namely those that are the product of states, those that are produced by activists against the power of the state, and finally those that escape states because they are part of globalized networks. Emmanuel Didier will conclude by showing that social processes aimed at purifying certain social aggregates from numbers also deserve our interest.


Emmanuel Didier is Director of Research at the CNRS, member of the Maurice Halbwachs Center, Ecole normale supérieure de Paris and EHESS. He is also a member of the National Consultative Council on Ethics and invited to the Pilot National Council on Digital Ethics. A graduate of ENSAE and Ecole des Mines de Paris, he is the author of several books on statistics policy. He has just published America by the Numbers. Quantification, Democracy, and the Birth of National Statistics. MIT Press. He is editor of the journal Statistique et société. Between 2014 and 2016, he was Deputy Director and founding member of EPIDAPO (Epigenetics, Data and Politics), a joint international unit of CNRS and UCLA in California. Since then, he has been working on big data policy, especially in the field of healthcare.

Practical information

Seminar open to all, by videoconference only.

Pre-registration required: register