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Infrastructures of traceability

Power, Michael ORCID: 0000-0001-8148-3953 (2019) Infrastructures of traceability. In: Kornberger, Martin, Bowker, Geoffrey, Pollock, Neil, Miller, Peter, Mennicken, Andrea, Randa Nucho, Joanne and Elyachar, Julia, (eds.) Thinking Infrastructures. Research in the Sociology of Organizations. Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, UK, pp. 115-130. ISBN 9781787695580

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Identification Number: 10.1108/S0733-558X20190000062007


The notion, technologies and organizational elaboration of traceability have become more prominent and more systematic in recent years in many different fields, notably food. This chapter argues that traceability has many faces: it is a programmatic value embedded in norms and regulations; it is a frontier of technology development such as blockchain, and it is a continuous processual and political dynamic of organizational connectedness, leading also to resistance. These different aspects make up “traceability infrastructures,” which embody a number of tensions and dynamics. Three such dynamics are explored in this chapter: the tension between organizational entities and meta-entities, problems of agency and the distribution of responsibility, and dialectics of connectivity and disconnectivity. These three dynamics generate three testable propositions, which define a prole-gomena for a new subject of “traceability studies.” Overall, traceability is argued to be an ongoing process of connecting discrete agencies – a process of “chainmaking” – and is formative of more or less stable forms of distributed agency and responsibility.

Item Type: Book Section
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Additional Information: © 2019 Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Divisions: Accounting
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HG Finance
Date Deposited: 30 May 2019 13:30
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 01:20

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