Learning to Become an FSC Auditor: Objectivity, Interpretation, and Mastery

W.C. Cook*, E. Turnhout, S. van Bommel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This paper aims to open the black box of auditing for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) forest management standard. Specifically, we delve into the early steps of becoming an FSC auditor by examining two auditor training sessions in northern Europe.
Using a mix of participant observation and unstructured interviews, the paper subjects the trainings to a dramaturgical analysis that focuses on the ways in which objectivity was performed and on how it was taught to be performed.
Alongside being an exploratory piece on FSC auditor training, this article highlights how objectivity and subjectivity are co-supportive components. Instead of being something to shy away from, auditors are implicitly taught the values of auditing even if they compromise the objective claims of the auditing process. Furthermore, the paper establishes that both interpretive and objective aspects are necessary, and that to compromise either is to diminish the capacity of the audit process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-48
JournalScience and Technology Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


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