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Categories and ContextsAnthropological and Historical Studies in Critical Demography$
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Simon Szreter, Hania Sholkamy, and A. Dharmalingam

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199270576

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2004

DOI: 10.1093/0199270570.001.0001

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Editors' Introduction

Editors' Introduction

(p.79) 4 Editors' Introduction
Categories and Contexts

Simon Szreter (Contributor Webpage)

Hania Sholkamy (Contributor Webpage)

A. Dharmalingam

Oxford University Press

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

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