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Title: Census and Identity
Authors: Arel, Dominique
David I. Kertzer and Dennis P. Hogan (Brown University)
Jack Caldwell, Andrew Cherlin, Tom Fricke, Francis Goldscheider, Susan Greenhalgh, and Richard Smith.
Keywords: Identity
Issue Date: 2004
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Description: A surge of interest in how collective identities are produced and, in particular, in the role of political actors and governments in fostering such identities has been evident for a number of years now. Yet scholarly interest in the intersection of these identities with state-level politics has a long pedigree. In the nineteenth century, scholars were heavily involved in the efforts of various European empires (Habsburg, Russian, and Ottoman) to categorize and hence better control their heterogeneous populations. Later, following World War II, attention shifted to the efforts of new postcolonial states to create national identities amidst a welter of competing “tribal” and racial identities. Census and Identity arose from an interest in these questions of states and collective identities shared by a group of scholars based at the Watson Institute of International Studies at Brown University, under the aegis of the Institute’s Research Program in Politics, Culture, and Identity. We became fascinated by the ways in which states entered into the struggle over collective identity formation, and saw the state-sponsored census as an especially promising vehicle for examining these processes. Academic interest in the role of censuses in the projection of state power is, of course, not new. A large number of country-specific studies of identity categorization in censuses have now been published, some with a historical focus and others with a more contemporary bent. Notable, too, is Benedict Anderson’s decision to add a chapter to the second edition of his now classic book, Imagined Communities, devoted to the role of censuses (along with maps and museums) in the construction of national identity.
ISBN: 0-511-02932-2
Appears in Collections:Environmental and Development Studies

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