Sorting Things Out

Sorting Things Out

Classification and Its Consequences

Geoffrey C. Bowker, Susan Leigh Star

these dimensions of standards are in some sense idealized. They embody goals of practice and production that are never perfectly realized, like Plato’s triangles. The process of building to a standardized code, for example, usually includes a face-to-face negotiation between builder(s) and inspector(s), which itself includes a history of relations between those people. Small deviations are routinely overlooked, unless the inspector is making a political point. The idiom “good enough for government use” embodies the common-sense accommodations of the slip between the ideal standard and the contingencies of practice.

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