Scale Tricks and God Tricks, or The Power of Scale in Powers of Ten Academic Article uri icon


  • As scale has been increasingly highlighted in cultural analysis and STS, it has not been made sufficiently clear how scale is produced, why it generates such powerful effects, and the relationship it has to science and representation. In response, this article proposes a definition of scale: scale is the systematic accounting for significant shifts in a measured range of observation. I argue that the full implications of scale have been obscured by a critical resistance to its basic parameters, as can be demonstrated in the frequent invocations of Donna Haraways god trick in relation to scalar depictions and in critiques of the Eamess Powers of Ten. This article thus unfolds this definition of scale through a critique of critiques of the Powers of Ten in order to clarify the power of scale. It then applies this discussion of scale to recent invocations of scale by (post)humanists in order to delineate the contours of scale critique.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 4.4

author list (cited authors)

  • DiCaglio, J.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • DiCaglio, Joshua

publication date

  • March 2020