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Europe by numbers

This book is a history of an illusion. It is also a history of the dream that preceded the illusion. The book discusses statistics as the field of tension between the scientific claims of neutrality and universality on the one hand and the political and economic reality of the conflicting interests of nation-states on the other. The various paths of state- and nation-building that European countries traversed in the nineteenth century are recognisable in the objectives of government statistics and are reflected in the topics selected for statistical study and in the categories used in the research. Each congress was clearly dominated by the specific interests of the country in which the statisticians convened. The book shows in each case how the organisation of government statistics and national concerns influenced the international agenda. It describes the perceptions, goals and dilemmas of the protagonists and their contact with each other, and in so doing unravels the complex relationships between science, government and society, wherever possible from their point of view. The genesis of international statistics was inspired by a desire for reform. Belgium's pioneering role in the European statistical movement was informed both by its liberal polity and the special status of statistics within it, and by Adolphe Quetelet's key position as an intellectual. The consolidation of the Grand Duchy of Baden, a new medium-sized state in the Rhine Confederation and later in the German Confederation, offered great opportunities for the development of official statistics.

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A new faction of the transnational field of statistics
Francisca Grommé
Evelyn Ruppert
, and
Baki Cakici

, they are the result of the painstaking work of translating questionnaires, surveys and registers into statistics that seek trust and legitimacy from governments, corporations and publics. Such trust is in part generated by the application of international quality standards for accuracy, reliability and timeliness that national statisticians appeal to in carrying out their role. The availability of new data sources – or big data – such as that from mobile phone locations and sensors is introducing new possibilities for the generation of official statistics. For

in Ethnography for a data-saturated world
The ambiguous social mix of the Palestinians of Israel in Haifa
Mariangela Gasparotto

result, it might seem at first sight to confirm the reality of the city’s cultural, religious and ethnic social mix. Here, Palestinians make up 22 per cent of the population according to official statistics. In some cases, Palestinians live in the same buildings as Mizrahim (Oriental Jews) or Russian immigrants, most of whom arrived in the late 1980s. ‘Palestinian’, ‘mixed

in Arab youths
Andrew Balmer
Anne Murcott

Common spelling mistakes Certain spelling mistakes are widespread. They can be found in all kinds of writing, including drafts of research reports and even Official Statistics, and are made even by experienced writers, despite the availability of spell-checkers. 1 To be fair, some spelling mistakes cannot be detected by spell-checkers. These are cases where a correctly spelled word is used, but it is the wrong word. Familiar ones are: compliment (meaning polite admiration) or complimentary (free of charge) instead of complement (something

in The craft of writing in sociology

The well-being of Europe’s citizens depends less on individual consumption and more on their social consumption of essential goods and services – from water and retail banking to schools and care homes – in what we call the foundational economy. Individual consumption depends on market income, while foundational consumption depends on social infrastructure and delivery systems of networks and branches, which are neither created nor renewed automatically, even as incomes increase. This historically created foundational economy has been wrecked in the last generation by privatisation, outsourcing, franchising and the widespread penetration of opportunistic and predatory business models. The distinctive, primary role of public policy should therefore be to secure the supply of basic services for all citizens (not a quantum of economic growth and jobs). Reconstructing the foundational has to start with a vision of citizenship that identifies foundational entitlements as the conditions for dignified human development, and likewise has to depend on treating the business enterprises central to the foundational economy as juridical persons with claims to entitlements but also with responsibilities and duties. If the aim is citizen well-being and flourishing for the many not the few, then European politics at regional, national and EU level needs to be refocused on foundational consumption and securing universal minimum access and quality. If/when government is unresponsive, the impetus for change has to come from engaging citizens locally and regionally in actions which break with the top down politics of ‘vote for us and we will do this for you’.


This book explores the reasons and justifications for the Chinese state’s campaign to erase Uyghur identity, focusing, in particular, on how China’s manipulation of the US-led Global War on Terror (GWOT) has facilitated this cultural genocide. It is the first book to address this issue in depth, and serves as an important rebuttal to Chinese state claims that this campaign is a benign effort to combat an existential extremist threat. While the book suggests that the motivation for this state-led campaign is primarily China’s gradual settler colonization of the Uyghur homeland, the text focuses on the narrative of the Uyghur terrorist threat that has provided international cover and justification for the campaign and has shaped its ‘biopolitical’ nature. It describes how the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was able to successfully implicate Uyghurs in GWOT and, despite a lack of evidence, brand them internationally as a serious terrorist threat within the first year of the war. In recounting these developments, the book offers a critique of existing literature on the Uyghur terrorist threat and questions the extent of this threat to the PRC. Finding no evidence for the existence of such a threat when the Chinese state first declared its existence in 2001, the book argues that a nominal Uyghur militant threat only emerged after over a decade of PRC suppression of Uyghur dissent in the name of counterterrorism, facilitating a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ that has served to justify further state repression and ultimately cultural genocide.

Space, identity and power

This volume aims to disclose the political, social and cultural factors that influenced the sanitary measures against epidemics developed in the Mediterranean during the long nineteenth century. The contributions to the book provide new interdisciplinary insights to the booming field of ‘quarantine studies’ through a systematic use of the analytic categories of space, identity and power. The ultimate goal is to show the multidimensional nature of quarantine, the intimate links that sanitary administrations and institutions had with the territorial organization of states, international trade, the construction of national, colonial, religious and professional identities or the configuration of political regimes. The circum-Mediterranean geographical spread of the case studies contained in this volume illuminates the similarities and differences around and across this sea, on the southern and northern shores, in Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, Greek, Italian, English and French-speaking domains. At the same time, it is highly interested in engaging in the global English-speaking community, offering a wide range of terms, sources, bibliography, interpretative tools and views produced and elaborated in various Mediterranean countries. The historical approach will be useful to recognize the secular tensions that still lie behind present-day issues such as the return of epidemics or the global flows of migrants and refugees.

Andrew Balmer
Anne Murcott

essay on the use of official statistics is likely to be much better informed, and your understanding dramatically improved, if you have read key passages of Émile Durkheim’s Suicide , even if you do not read the whole book. It is very difficult to do well in a sociology essay if you do not read the ‘classics’ or original sources for the major themes and ideas in the field. Distinctions between textbooks and original, even classic, contributions to the discipline are just some that can be made between types of material you could find on a topic. As important

in The craft of writing in sociology
Martyn Hammersley

will focus primarily on that book here, albeit with occasional references to his other work. I will examine how he interpreted and used resources from Garfinkel, how these were blended with more mainstream methodological ideas, and the implications he derived for social research practice (see also the discussion in Chapter 1). Prior to the appearance of Method and Measurement, Cicourel had published a very influential paper, with John Kitsuse (1963), entitled ‘A note on the use of official statistics’, and it is worth briefly examining this. They started from some

in The radicalism of ethnomethodology
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Behind the great anxiety
Luca Calafati
Julie Froud

living there. This book presents empirics on households and places mainly based on official statistics. Over the past decade, there has been much interest in big data for its capacity to cover a wide range of topics and provide updated information. Yet official statistics are still immensely valuable, as illustrated below with some of our research findings from official data on household income and

in When nothing works