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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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Racial/Colour Categorization in US and Brazilian Censuses

Racial/Colour Categorization in US and Brazilian Censuses

(p.107) 6 Racial/Colour Categorization in US and Brazilian Censuses
Categories and Contexts

Melissa Nobles

Oxford University Press

Provides an abbreviated history of racial categorization in American and Brazilian censuses from each country's first census in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries up through the 2000 census. It argues against the view that census bureaux are disconnected from larger political developments or that racial data are innocuous demographic data. For most of their countries’ histories, state officials, (social) scientists, and politicians tightly controlled American and Brazilian census‐taking and the social categories deployed. Over the past thirty years in the US and the past twenty years in Brazil, groups within civil society have organized and lobbied to have methods of categorization altered. Categorization is now a ‘bottom up’ process and not only a ‘top down’ process.

Keywords:   Brazil, census, race, racial science, social movements, US

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