Urban Readers Series: E. Summerson Carr and Michael Lempert - "Scale: Discourse and Dimensions of Social Life" - Karin Knorr Cetina

Monday, October 17, 2016 - 6:00pm - 8:00pm

The second event in the Urban Readers Series will feature the School of Social Service Administration’s Associate Professor E. Summerson Carr, and her co-editor, Michael Lempert of the University of Michigan, who will discuss their volume, "Scale Discourse and Dimensions of Social Life" on Monday, October 17. Carr and Lempert will be joined in conversation by Karin Knorr Cetina.

Joining Carr and Lempert in contributing to the book are scholars from around the country, including UChicago faculty members Susan Gal, the Mae & Sidney G. Metzl Distinguished Service Professor in Anthropology; Constantine Nakassis, assistant professor in Anthropology; and Michael Silverstein, the Charles F. Grey Distinguished Service Professor of Anthropology, of Linguistics, and of Psychology and in the Committee on Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities.

The Urban Readers Series invites the curious public to meet the university's faculty, staff, and alumni who think and write about cities. The series is sponsored by UChicago Urban, the university's commitment to enhancing urban life and bringing our work into conversation with the public."

At the Co-op


About the book: Wherever we turn, we see diverse things scaled for us, from cities to economies, from history to love. We know scale by many names and through many familiar antinomies: local and global,micro and macroevents to name a few. Even the most critical among us often proceed with our analysis as if such scales were the ready-made platforms of social life, rather than asking how, why, and to what effect are scalar distinctions forged in the first place.

How do scalar distinctions help actors and analysts alike make sense of and navigate their social worlds? What do these distinctions reveal and what do they conceal? How are scales construed and what effects do they have on the way those who abide by them think and act? This pathbreaking volume attends to the practical labor of scale-making and the communicative practices this labor requires. From an ethnographic perspective, the authors demonstrate that scale is practice and process before it becomes product, whether in the work of projecting the commons, claiming access to the big picture, or scaling the seriousness of a crime.

About E. Summerson Carr: E. Summerson Carr is Associate Professor in the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago, where she is also an affiliate of the Department of Anthropology, the Department of Comparative Human Development, and the Center for Gender Studies. She is author of Scripting Addiction: The Politics of Therapeutic Talk and American Sobriety (Princeton University Press, 2011; 2012 Edward Sapir Prize), and is currently writing a second monograph—titled Motivating Apprentices: Science, Spirit, and the Institution of American Expertise—based on her research on the dramatic spread of an American behavioral therapy called motivational interviewing.

About Michael Lempert: Michael Lempert is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He was formerly Assistant Professor of Linguistics at Georgetown University and Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. He is author of Discipline and Debate: The Language of Violence in a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery (University of California Press, 2012; 2013 Clifford Geertz Prize) and coauthor (with Michael Silverstein) of Creatures of Politics: Media, Message, and the American Presidency (Indiana University Press, 2012). He is currently working on a genealogy of face-to-face interaction, tracing how interaction became an object of knowledge in twentieth century social science.

About Karin Knorr Cetina: Karin Knorr Cetina is Otto Borchert Distinguished Service Professor of Anthropology, Sociology and of the Social Sciences in the College and Chair of the Sociology Department at the University of Chicago.

Event Location: 
Seminary Co-op Bookstore
5751 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637