Prof. Dr Susan Erikson

Alumni Senior Fellow

Research Project at the Centre

Cultures of Governance: Statistics as Apparatus for Global Governance

My current research is the study of statistics as a bureaucratic technology of global governance. I conduct anthropological research in Sierra Leone, where I lived and worked for two years as an international development worker (a non-academic post) before the 1991-2002 war. As an academic, I am interested in how globalization restructures interactions between statistics, global capital, and governance. My research explores statistics as a global knowledge technology of power- and decision-making.

Global governance relies on statistics to provide presumed coherence, commensurability, and efficiency in international development, humanitarian, and global health projects. I use ethnographic methods and analyses to discover what is happening in postconflict Sierra Leone relative to the production and circulation of statistics for development, humanitarian and commercial projects. In much of my research and teaching as well as in many of my invited presentations I take up the politics of development and policy inscriptions to show how international rules and regulations continue to maintain the longstanding extant advantages of already wealthy people and countries.


October 2014 – February 2015