Scientific article

Legitimating Organizational Change through the Power of Quantification: Intra-Organizational Struggles and Data Deviations

ContributorsBeerli, Monique
Published inInternational Peacekeeping, p. 1-23
Publication date2017

While humanitarian work has always implied a certain level of risk, in the last two decades there has been a growing concern that humanitarian and peacekeeping agents are exposed to unprecedented levels of insecurity. To determine whether or not such claims and perceptions are substantiated, researchers have developed quantitative datasets aimed at measuring and tracking threats to humanitarians and peacekeepers at the global level. In contrast to humanitarian practitioners which use such quantitative expertise to suggest aid work is becoming increasingly dangerous, the producers of quantitative representations of humanitarian security suggest instead that attack rates have remained for the most part fairly stable despite increases in absolute numbers. In order to make sense of this paradox, this article draws on neo-Bourdieusian approaches, the sociology of professions and organizations, as well as global governance literature on quantification to suggest that such inconsistencies relate to the use of quantitative data to legitimate organizational change and bureaucratic restructurations in relation to the institutionalization of security expertise. By understanding the dynamics of organizational change, this article sheds light on one of the ways through which international humanitarianism and peacekeeping is shifting from a paradigm of proximity to a paradigm of distance and remoteness.

  • Humanitarian field
  • professional struggles
  • quantification
  • legitimization
  • remote humanitarianism
Citation (ISO format)
BEERLI, Monique. Legitimating Organizational Change through the Power of Quantification: Intra-Organizational Struggles and Data Deviations. In: International Peacekeeping, 2017, p. 1–23. doi: 10.1080/13533312.2017.1383565
ISSN of the journal1743-906X

Technical informations

Creation10/10/2017 2:43:00 PM
First validation10/10/2017 2:43:00 PM
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