All Title Author
Keywords Abstract

Funny Numbers

Keywords: Funny numbers , history of mental hospitals , history of statistics , standardization of statistics , statistics of mental illness , technicality , thin description

Full-Text   Cite this paper   Add to My Lib


The struggle over cure rate measures in nineteenth-century asylums provides an exemplary instance of how, when used for official assessments of institutions, these numbers become sites of contestation. The evasion of goals and corruption of measures tends to make these numbers “funny” in the sense of becoming dis-honest, while the mismatch between boring, technical appearances and cunning backstage manipulations supplies dark humor. The dangers are evident in recent efforts to decentralize the functions of governments and corporations using incen-tives based on quantified targets.


comments powered by Disqus