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Statistics of Identity: Representation of Minority Groups in the Population Census

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The question of minorities' representation in national statistics has gained an important place in the public agenda of Western countries today. In recent decades, different minority groups have expressed interest in being represented in population censuses for purposes of advocacy and for enhancing social recognition. Identity categories defined by a census become a form of common knowledge that shapes public policy and social relations. The introduction of new questions on ethnicity and religion in the British census during the past twenty years and the ongoing debate on the cultural categories that are used in the census make it an interesting case-study for the conflict around the public identification of different social groups. This paper follows the trends in the representation and categorization of minorities in the population census, and the underlying processes that led to these changes.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-05-01

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  • The St Antony's International Review (STAIR) is the only peer-reviewed journal of international affairs at the University of Oxford. Set up by graduate students of St Antony's College in 2005, the Review has carved out a distinctive niche as a cross-disciplinary outlet for research on the most pressing contemporary global issues, providing a forum in which emerging scholars can publish their work alongside established academics and policymakers. Past contributors include Robert O. Keohane, James N. Rosenau, and Alfred Stepan.
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