Association pour l’anthropologie du changement social et du développement
Association for the anthropology of social change and development

TRAVELLING MODELS

Auteur(s) : Tolo Østebø Marit ;

English summary

This panel seeks to stimulate empirically informed, theoretical discussions about the role and politics of models and model-making in an increasingly digital and transnational policy world.


English argumentary

This panel seeks to stimulate empirically informed, theoretical discussions about the role and politics of models and model-making in an increasingly digital and transnational policy world. While models, in various forms and throughout history, have been used to explain or predict ‘real-world’ phenomena and to inform policy and govern human behavior, the bourgeoning of models and modeling practices in our contemporary world suggests that we live in what Jeremy Trombley (2016) has termed the Simulocene – an age of models.  With an empirical focus on models (including but not limited to “best practices”, innovations, norms or ideas) that spread widely across different localities through various vectors, ranging from NGOs and multilateral organization to the Internet, the overall aim of this panel is to further explore the travelling model as an analytical and empirical phenomenon. The travelling model was first introduced as an analytical concept by Richard Rottenburg in his book Far-fetched Facts (2009). The concept, which also actualizes questions related to translation and vernacularization has also been taken up and further developed and applied by Jean Pierre Olivier de Sardan and his colleagues. In this panel we welcome papers that further explore and theorize the travelling model as a theoretical concept and empirical phenomenon. Potential questions to be explored are: What are key characteristics of travelling models? How do they come into being? What characterizes the models that ‘go viral’? How, by whom, and why are models picked up and translated? And what facilitates and fuels a model’s virality? What are some of the effects – both intended an unintended –that follow when actors, sites or policies gain status as models? And what are the methodological and ethical challenges associated with conducting research on travelling models?


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