Audit culture is examined comparatively in US academic life and in Catalan universities, medical research institutions and scientific publishing. In the case of Catalan universities, audit is shown to be a political practice as well, serving the centralising interests of the Spanish state at the expense of Catalan home rule. Despite the variation in formal practices and institutional contexts, then, the similarities in both the appearance and effects of these practices are remarkable. As anthropologists working across cultural boundaries, we should be attentive to the many forms coercive surveillance may take.
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