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The statistical construction of alterity: Governing national population by numbers in France and Germany (1860-1900)

Abstract : This paper is aimed to contribute to the history of statistics as science but also as governing tool (Foucault 2004). It explores the role of official statistics in the nation building process in the second part of the 19th century in France and Germany. Following the analyses of Desrosières and Foucault the study asks how science produced “imagined communities” (Anderson 1983) by using and constructing statistical categories on migration. By doing that, official statistics contributed to produce differentiations between national and foreign populations, which both aim to be governed differently. In the first step I will argue that the historical development of official statistics in the 19th century in France and Germany led to its use in both countries as a governing tool to administrate population, but in different national ways. In the second step the paper recontextualizes and deconstructs the statistical categories of foreigners and citizens, to show how official statistics took part in the historical process of nation building. Scientific journals (Journal de la Société de Statistique de Paris, Zeitschrift des königlich preussischen statistischen Bureaus and Allgemeines Statistisches Archiv) between 1860 and 1900 form the empirical basis of the study. About 160 articles on migration statistics have been qualitatively analysed in order to sketch the statistical discourse about migration as well as the discursive construction of German and French nations by statisticians.
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Contributeur : Léa Renard Connectez-vous pour contacter le contributeur
Soumis le : mardi 14 juin 2016 - 13:11:55
Dernière modification le : mardi 18 octobre 2022 - 09:30:07


  • HAL Id : hal-01331683, version 1



Léa Renard. The statistical construction of alterity: Governing national population by numbers in France and Germany (1860-1900). ISA World Congress of Sociology, Jul 2014, Yokohama, Japan. ⟨hal-01331683⟩



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