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Global Governance Indicators

This project brings together researchers from accross different disciplines who are interested in indicators (or analogous concepts such as tools, barometers, benchmarks, guidelines or yardsticks) and their role in global governance.

What are indicators and how are they utilised in Global Governance initiatives?

We adopt as our starting point the following definition of indicators:

"Indicators are a named collection of rank ordered data that purport to represent the past of projected preferences of different units in a way that usually simplifies often complex social phenomenon." Kingsbury et al OUP 2012.

Governance by Indicators: Global Power Through Quantification and Rankings (ed. with Kevin Davis, Angelina Fisher and Sally Engle Merry)

In terms of global governance initiatives, indicators have been developed and used by a wide range of actors at the international level. Indicators might also be utilised in national or local governance efforts (in relation to a range of non-state and/or multi-stakeholder initiatives), but be based on standards that have a ‘global dimension’.

Questions of Interest to Warwick Scholars

In relation to indicators which Warwick scholars are studying in a wide range of different fields, some of the questions we there is interest in exploring collectively are:

1. How are particular sets of indicators created and from what sources are they drawn?

2. What are the problems/limitations/barriers to the creation of optimal indicators?

3. What participatory mechanisms are involved?

4. What makes indicators (il)legitimate and (un)accountable tools of global governance?

5. What are the normative/political/ethical implications of indicators for existing systems of governance?

6. How have indicators impacted on existing systems of governance?

Our events and activities

On 15 November we held an away day. The Background Paper and Report of the Away Day are available above.


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Contact us

If you would like further information or to join the Indicators project:

Email Sharifah Sekalala on