Categories and Contexts: Anthropological and Historical Studies in Critical Demography

Hardcover | June 29, 2004

EditorSimon Szreter, Hania Sholkamy, A. Dharmalingam

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Throughout its history as a social science, demography has been associated with an exclusively quantitative orientation for studying social problems. As a result, demographers tend to analyse population issues scientifically through sets of fixed social categories that are divorced fromdynamic relationships and local contexts and processes. This volume questions these fixed categories in two ways. First, it examines the historical and political circumstances in which such categories had their provenance, and, second, it reassesses their uncritical applications over space and timein a diverse range of empirical case studies, encouraging throughout a constructive interdisciplinary dialogue involving anthropologists, demographers, historians, and sociologists.This volume seeks to examine the political complexities that lie at the heart of population studies by focusing on category formation, category use, and category critique. It shows that this takes the form of a dialectic between the needs for clarity of scientific and administrative analysis and therecalcitrant diversity of the social contexts and human processes that generate population change. The critical reflections of each chapter are enriched by meticulous ethnographic fieldwork and historical research drawn from every continent. This volume, therefore, exemplifies a new methodology forresearch in population studies, one that does not simply accept and re-use the established categories of population science but seeks critically and reflexively to explore, test, and re-evaluate their meanings in diverse contexts. It shows that for demography to realise its full potential it musturgently re-examine and contextualize the social categories used today in population research.

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Throughout its history as a social science, demography has been associated with an exclusively quantitative orientation for studying social problems. As a result, demographers tend to analyse population issues scientifically through sets of fixed social categories that are divorced fromdynamic relationships and local contexts and proce...

Simon Szreter has been a Fellow of St John's College, Cambridge since 1992, and is Reader in History and Public Policy in the Faculty of History at Cambridge. He took History Tripos at Cambridge, completed his PhD with the Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure in 1983, and was Research Assistant to Lord (M...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:424 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 1.11 inPublished:June 29, 2004Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199270570

ISBN - 13:9780199270576

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Table of Contents

David Kertzer: ForewordList of ContributorsSection 1 The historical anthropology of demography and its categories1. S.Szreter with H.Sholkamy and A.Dharmalingam: Contextualising categories: towards a critical reflexive demography2. P.Kreager: Objectifying demographic identities3. 3. C.Briggs: Malthus' Anti-Rhetorical Rhetoric, or, on the Magical Conversion of the Imaginary into the RealSection 2 Categories as political interventions4. S.Szreter with H.Sholkamy and A.Dharmalingam: Editors' Introduction5. E.Higgs: The linguistic construction of social and medical categories in the work of the English General Register Office, 1837-19506. M.Nobles: Racial / Color Categorization in US and Brazilian Censuses7. F.Hirsch: Toward a Soviet Order of Things:The 1926 Census and the Making of the Soviet Union8. S.Greenhalgh: Making up China's "Black population"9. S.Villaveces- Izquierdo: Internal diaspora and State imagination: Colombia's failure to envision a nation10. C.Makhlouf-Obermeyer: Users, non-users, clients, and help-seekers: the use of categories in research on health behaviour11. M.Collumbien et al: Etic and emic categories in male sexual health: a case study from OrissaSection 3 Contexts as critiques of categories12. S.Szreter with H.Sholkamy and A.Dharmalingam: Editors' Introduction13. A.Prohmmo and J.Bryant: Measuring the population of a northeast Thai village14. J.Hirsch: 'Un noviazgo despues de ser casados': Companionate marriage, sexual intimacy, and the modern Mexican family15. E.Renne: Gender Roles and Women's Status: What They Mean to Hausa Muslim Women in Northern Nigeria16. P.Davis: Re-contextualizing the Female-Headed Household: Culture and Agency in Uganda17. M.Greene and B.Greenberg: Demography's Ecological Frontier: Rethinking the 'Nature' of the Household and Community18. J.Adams and B.Kassakoff: Spillovers, subdivisions and flows: questioning the usefulness of 'bounded container' as the dominant metaphor in demography19. S.Lubkemann: Situating migration in wartime and post-war Mozambique: a critique of "forced migration" researchIndex