Demography and empire: normative framework, sources and methods (18-20th centuries)

Paulo Teodoro de Matos (FCSH)
Paulo Silveira e Sousa (CHAM-FCSH)
Cristina Nogueira da Silva (NOVA)
Sala 43, EdifĂ­cio B2, Piso 1
Start time:
15 July, 2015 at 14:30
Session slots:

Short abstract:

Censuses and vital statistics where a key instrument in the construction of modern states and colonialism. This panel seeks for contributions on the normative framework of the colonial population counts/censuses, social categorization and methodological approaches.

Long abstract:

The desire to control the population by the central powers is an undeniable factor in the development of statistics. This desire became a necessity, since without the information provided, the implementation of the policies would be chimeric. Furthermore, state capacity was enhanced by the demonstration of power shown through the counts and categorization of the people under its authority. Thus, statistics became a prerequisite for the development of the state, measuring its ability to succeed. This was even more important in the case of colonial populations, given their distance towards the power of the metropolis. Population counts and other population statistics are elements that served to further control these territories, but also to create identities, building a new order. To achieve this goal a normative framework was produced, in order to comprehend the territory and categorize the population. This panel seeks to deepen the debate on the development of statistics by the European colonial empires since the beginning of the eighteenth century to the present, without dismissing the comparison with other empires, mainly in the following areas: legislative framework for population counts and its application in the colonies; categorization criteria and classification of populations and territories; people employed to perform the task and later broadcast; analysis of the results in statistics and quality assessment operations.