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

Bal Sokhi-Bulley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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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