This is the editorial note to TNI Vol. 55: Testing. View the full table of contents here.
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BY now we’re a few centuries into a world where truth is held to be revealed through tests. The vouchsafing of fact through contingency is how we transmute the galactic and subatomic qualities of being into quantities of data and pile them up into values. Though a venerably religious concept, the insertion of testing into the most minute pores of everyday life is one of the the secular, bourgeois world’s more striking departures from its precapitalist forbearers. It’s everywhere: prenatal genetic testing, immigration testing, means-testing, you name it. The ideologues of science and rationality preach their love for testing as if it were the blind goddess of justice, meting out harmony and proportion and just deserts. In practice, testing does little more than register social fates already at work.