Tma 04

TMA 04

Making Social Lives

Word Count –


What is the role of the Census?   Why do we have a census?

“A census is a count of all people and households in the country. It provides population statistics from a national to neighbourhood level for government, local authorities, business and communities.” - (Accessed 27th June 2010)

The census is a tool the state uses to govern its people.

Looks at birth rates, gender, health etc. Accurate information on people and where they live and their needs.

Can be divided into parts i.e. gender, age etc.

The census is a way in which a state records statistical information about its population.   The census takes the form of a number of questions which a person completes and returns. The information recorded is used in a variety of ways by the state.   This can include funding for specific groups or is sub divided into various sub divisions or parts allowing the state to have broad information on the makeup of the population   and compare the different groups that coexist within the population i.e. gender, religious affiliations etc. There are 2 views that exist for looking at the role of the census.

Both views look at the purpose or the role of the census.

The census happens every 10 years and includes the entire population.

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The objectivist interpretation is to accurately reflect the population independently of the census itself.

The view of the objectivist regarding the role of the census is that the census is used by the state as a tool for ‘counting noses’.   That is the population exists and is a physical ‘thing’ to be counted. The view is that the population are the people of the state and are therefore already in existence and need to be counted and classified. It has also been the view that “It is through the practice of identification like the census that makes people ‘legible’ and governable.” (Scott (1999), P401)....