‘Governing (Through) Rights: Statistics as Technologies of Governmentality’

Bal Sokhi-Bulley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Citations (Scopus)


An increasing amount of attention is being given to the use of human rights measurement indicators in monitoring ‘progress’ in rights and there is consequently a growing focus on statistics and information. This article concentrates on the use of statistics in rights discourse, with reference to the new human rights institution for the European Union: the Fundamental Rights Agency. The article has two main objectives: first, to show that statistics operate as technologies of governmentality – by explaining that statistics both govern rights and govern through rights. Second, the article discusses the implications that this has for rights discourse – rights become a discourse of governmentality, that is a normalizing and regulating discourse. In doing so, the article stresses the importance of critique and questioning new socio-legal methodologies, which involve the collection and dissemination of information and data (statistics), in rights discourse.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-156
Number of pages18
JournalSocial and Legal Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Law
  • Sociology and Political Science

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