Engineering the Data State

Patrick Carroll

in Science, Culture, and Modern State Formation

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2006 | ISBN: 9780520247536
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520932807 | DOI:
Engineering the Data State

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This chapter develops the concept of the “data state”—a condition of being governed by number. It notes that government by number emerges from “political anatomy” and “political arithmetic.” It focuses on the emergence of these political forms as engines for counting and calculating natural and political objects. It examines Samuel Hartlib and William Petty's designs and concludes with the great innovations in censuses and cartography developed in Ireland in the first half of the nineteenth century. It argues that the modern census is a political technology engineered by bringing metering and graphing into a simultaneously practiced and representational relationship.

Keywords: data state; government; political anatomy; political arithmetic; Samuel Hartlib; William Petty; censuses; cartography; Ireland; political technology

Chapter.  12995 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Theory

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