Numbers in global security governance
European Journal of International Security
Cambridge University Press (CUP)
The use of numbers has been remarkably effective at pressing global claims. Whilst research has documented the historical processes through which numbers gained such prominence, and has examined the political and ethical consequences of this omnipresence, very little is known regarding the specific ways in which numbers create the outcomes that sustain governance. This article proposes to close that gap. Building on the literature that acknowledges that numbers not only describe things but also have profound impacts on things themselves, this paper offers an integrated account of the working dynamics of numbers in the governance of security. To do so, the article identifies three distinct but connected vectors of power through which numbers shape security governance: persuasion, (de)politicization, and standardization. These insights are exemplified through the prism of different empirical examples, the variety of which aims to display the advantages of the approach we propose.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from CUP via the DOI in this record.
Published online 19 June 2017