From Measuring Rods to DNA Sequencing

Assessing the Human
Marie-Pierre Julien, Ingrid Voléry
décembre 2020
Laboratoire Lorrain de Sciences Sociales - 2L2S Nancy
Palgrave Mac Millan

Drawing, compass, squared layer, measuring rod, statistical table, gene sequencer: the devices which are used to classify, figure and number human beings have a long scientific, economic, moral and political history.

Nevertheless, sociology has only recently started to deal with these issues. In France, sociology has historically analysed body especially drawing from studies on social classes and socialization patterns or research on measurement in order to show links between government and quantification approaches. However, in the last twenty years, we are observing the emergence of a French sociology specifically interested in the classifications and the metrologies of the human body. This sociology is particularly influenced by both Anthropology of Science and Medical Anthropology which came in the French scientific debate especially through intersectional studies and through a renewal of pragmatic approaches. It is exactly at the confluence of these two movements that this book is rooted. Its purpose is to contribute to the understanding of human metrology, its emergence, its circulation and its reception.