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Statistics, Reform, and Regimes of Expertise in Turkey

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Statistics is one of the chapters in Turkey's EU entry negotiations, and the country is transforming what statistics it collects, using what methodologies, at what intervals, how it publishes them, and how it uses them. It is in light of the new statistical knowledge that the country is reforming its institutions and practices. This paper argues that the relationship between statistics and social forms is not solely one of description. To the extent that statistics do not merely study or represent the objects they are purported to be about, but are intimately involved in intervening in/on those objects (e.g. social, economic, or ecological processes) and in fact in remaking them through reform and/or development, they have a performative nature. In this sense, statistics are less a methodology and more a technology—a technology of governance. The paper draws on the fieldwork in Turkey with statisticians, technicians, and agricultural experts working on the design and implementation of EU-inspired reforms to develop new apparatuses for the collection of data on agriculture in the country.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Anthropology and Arizona Center for Turkish Studies, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA

Publication date: October 2, 2014

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