Sociotechnical Change: Tracing Flows, Languages, and Stakes Across Diverse Cases| Counting on Stability: The Social Construction of the Los Angeles Homeless Count

Will Orr


Sociotechnical change stabilizes inherently indeterminate and contingent phenomena as bounded, comprehensible, and absolute. Through an examination of the Los Angeles homeless count, I highlight three simplifications that render homelessness legible: geographic and temporal boundaries, processes of categorization, and the construction of metrics. Considering statistics as sociotechnical constructs underscores the inherent subjectivity, uncertainty, and contingency erased through claims of objectivity.


homelessness, statistics, sociotechnical change, objectivity

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