Ingmar Lippert
Ingmar Lippert

Ingmar Lippert

After Numbers? Doing and Undoing Numbers

Numbers are ubiquitous. Their numberly guise makes numbers seem trustworthy. Mathematics supposedly governs numbers. However, numbers are always socio-materially performed. A child learns counting with fingers, in the supermarket we do supermarket-maths, rather than highschool or university maths. I wonder: how are numbers done in everyday work practices? And this involves attending to how numbers are destabilised, undone. And what is inside numbers? What happens before, behind, after numbers?

Data Practices and Digital Accountability

Expanding on my PhD work, I continue to follow the empirically grounded hypothesis that data is not given but made. Etymologically "data" refers to the given (from Latin dare, the given). However data is not given but, rather, made. Data emerges as facts (etymologically, factum, in Latin, something done). Doing data means facts. And fact-making is a central object of STS. I specifically focus on how practices of preparing, configuring and achieving data are entangled with rendering these practices transparent and accountable. My take on practices and abilities of accounting digitally attends simultaneously to how abilities to respond, response-abilities, are configured, enabled and constrained in socio-technical infrastructures.

Methods and Matters of STS

STS has a strong history in scrutinising other scientific fields' methods and infrastructures of analysis. Despite its reflexivity, too often, STS misses detailing its own material and semiotic practices of analysis, of enacting its own materials and data. STS has politics, not just in discourse but also its ways of doing data and of writing up its research. This project is committed to facilitate developing a methodographic genre - a genre in which we detail the ways and politics of how we, how STS, enacts its own research.

Corporate Carbon

Global climate change solutions are dominantly addressed as hinging on changes in industrial and economic relations. Production and services need to be de-carbonised, moving away from the carbon economy. This project addresses ethnographically how corporate carbon accounting, in one of the 50 largest companies on the damaged planet earth, manages to render visible the carbon intensity of the multinational's operations. Positioned between STS, environmental sociology and organisation studies, I analyse how carbon accounting enacts environments and identify patterns of accounted-for-environmental impacts that serve to stabilise the financial core interests, whilst ensuring that the environment does not interfer within the transnational corporation's centre. Internal externalities, indeed.

Environmental Management Studies

Environmental management and governance supposedly serve in modern attempts to achieve sustainable development. Universities abound with study programmes in environmental management, resource management and their governance. Conventionally, researchers with a focus on "environmental management" review existing management instruments and improve the latter or develop alternative instruments. My research takes a radically different approach: I approach environmental management as situated practices. By this I refer to the work and labour by agents of ecological modernisation as well as to the historical, geographical and political configuration of their day-to-day work practice. In the foreground of my take on environmental management studies are, then, environmental managers and their instruments and their actual use. These I approach ethnographically, contributing to critical environmental studies, human geography, environmental sociology and an environmental or earthly STS.
Selected Output
  • "Environmental Management as Situated Practice" Geoforum special issue, edited with Franz Krause and Niklas Hartmann (2016)
    free access via
  • "Latour’s Gaia – Not down to Earth?: Social Studies of Environmental Management for Grounded Understandings of the Politics of Human-Nature Relationships", in: Yearbook 2012 of the Institute for Advanced Studies on Science, Technology and Society (2014)
    free access via
  • "Limits to Managing the Environment" edited book part, in: Implementing Environmental and Resource Management (2011)
    free access via
  • "Disposed to Unsustainability? Ecological Modernisation as a Techno-Science Enterprise with Conflicting Normative Orientations", in: Yearbook 2009 of the Institute for Advanced Studies on Science, Technology and Society (2010)
    free access via