Population Composition as an Object of Political Struggle

David I. Kertzer and Dominique Arel

in The Oxford Handbook of Contextual Political Analysis

Published in print March 2006 | ISBN: 9780199270439
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Political Science

 Population Composition as an Object of Political Struggle

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This article examines the conception of population composition as an object of political struggle. It acknowledges that census holds a powerful sway over political analysts and explains that census becomes a political battleground not due to vitiation of what should be a technical exercise, but rather because of its fundamental role in representing groups. It identifies the agents of category construction in census and describes the three models of linking state-recognized identity categories to political power and evaluates their application to Soviet ethnogenesis. It suggests that the decision to categorize the composition of a population along cultural markers, and the formulation of these categories are political choices and that the affirmation of an identity by an individual on the census, within the repertoire offered, is a matter of choice.

Keywords: population composition; political struggle; census; population identity; Soviet ethnogenesis; political choices

Article.  5865 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Comparative Politics

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