CSISP has now a new working paper series, and we (as the comparator) are working paper Nr. 1.
CSISP Working Paper Nr. 1, Goldsmiths, London, March, 2013
Joe Deville, Michael Guggenheim, Zuzana Hrdlickova:
Same, Same But Different: Provoking Relations, Assembling the Comparator (pdf)
This paper was originally written for our workshop on comparison, which we will hoepfully soon turn into a book.
This is how it starts:
Our experience of working on a comparative project entitled “Organising Disaster. Civil Protection and the Population”, trying to find the ‘same, same but different’ has directed our attention to two questions: Who or more appropriately what is the comparator? And how does the comparator affect a researcher’s relationship with the objects being compared?
Conventionally the term ‘comparator’ is understood as a standard against which an object is compared. However, in electrical engineering a ‘comparator’ is a device – now often a chip – that does comparison (figure 1). The comparator, in our appropriation of the word, is an actor that undertakes the work of comparison. It has to be assembled from diverse entities, according to specific forms of knowledge and expertise. In order to produce the comparative output, these assembled parts have to actively intervene and provoke relations between previously inputs.