Compare and Contrast Two Accounts of the Role of the Census in Making Up the Uk Population.

Compare and Contrast two accounts of the Role of the Census in making up the UK Population.

In forming an answer to this question I will consider the differences in the role of the census throughout history and how these differences reflect the theories of Goffman and Foucault.   I will do this by discussing the opposing views of Foucault and Goffman and how these relate to the forming of modern society.  

“Society is organised on the principle that any individual who possesses certain social characteristics has a moral right to expect that others will value and treat him in an appropriate way."
Goffman, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life (Garden City, NY: Doubleday Anchor, 1959), p. 13.
What is a census?   Strictly speaking a census is an official, physical count of all the inhabitants of a country.   A census is taken every 10 years and is aimed at providing the fullest picture of the population at a specific date in time.   In contrast to other forms of census where data is retrieved on specific topics from a sample audience, the population census aims to collect and record data from the entire population on a variety of issues relevant to society at that time in history and compare the results to historical analysis of the population.

The population census is an important source of information for economic and social decision makers but is dependent on full and accurate information being obtained.   Although a census has been recorded as far back as biblical times, the first “official” UK census was held in 1801 and was a basic headcount of the population in response to the Government’s fears that food production would not be adequate for the growing population.   The census consisted of 5 basic questions and every census since then has steadily built on these questions to match the information needed, for example, during the industrial revolution (1891) a question asking about the number of rooms in a house was introduced to address the issue of...