Editors' Introduction

Simon Szreter, Hania Sholkamy and A. Dharmalingam

in Categories and Contexts

Published in print March 2004 | ISBN: 9780199270576
Published online April 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191600883 | DOI:

Series: International Studies in Demography

Editors' Introduction

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The chapters in this section are introduced. They demonstrate the manifold ways in which the categories used for the scientific study of population problems have each been produced through historical processes of a strongly political character. The chapters document a number of ways in which intrinsically ambiguous linguistic forms are fixed and objectified to render them amenable to demographic analysis, often through the mediation of state apparatuses. They show that this typically entails significant costs, both in terms of the scientific analyses possible, and in terms of the rights of real people. As Ian Hacking has put it, representing is intervening; categories impose on contexts.

Keywords: demographic categories; Ian Hacking; politics; state

Chapter.  3642 words. 

Subjects: History of Economic Thought

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