Editors' Introduction

Simon Szreter, Hania Sholkamy, A. Dharmalingam

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCategories and Contexts
Subtitle of host publicationAnthropological and Historical Studies in Critical Demography
PublisherOxford University Press, USA
ISBN (Electronic)9780191600883
ISBN (Print)9780199270576
Publication statusPublished - 7 Apr 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Demographic categories
  • Ian hacking
  • Politics
  • State

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