For more than a century, statistics describing immigration and assimilation in France have been based on citizenship and place of birth. The recent concern for racial discrimination has given rise to a heated controversy over whether to introduce so-called "ethnic categories" into official statistics. In this article, I make an assessment of the kind of statistics that are available today and the rationale behind their design. I then discuss the main arguments put forward in the controversy and argue that antidiscrimination policies have created a new need for statistics that outweigh the arguments against the use of "ethnic statistics." In fact, beyond the technical dimension of this controversy lies a more general political debate about the multicultural dimensions of French society.
The Debate on Ethnic and Racial Statistics in France
Reading the Graphs of Madame Pégard
Hélène Périvier and Rebecca Rogers
This article considers how women adopted a “scientific” statistical language at the end of the nineteenth century to draw attention to their role in the moral and social economy. It explores in particular the messages contained in La Statistique générale de la femme française, a series of eighteen murals that the moderate feminist Marie Pégard sent for exhibition at the Woman’s Building at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. The article begins by considering the place statistics held in France in the final decades of the century within the context of universal exhibitions. It then examines Pégard’s choice of quantified categories of social analysis to convey a sustained argument about the comparative weight of women in a modernizing French economy. The article seeks to understand how contemporaries read and interpreted the graphs, and how this mode of rendering visible the issue of women’s work played into the politics of an emerging feminist movement.
The Administration of Rape in Twenty-First Century France and England & Wales
Nicole Fayard and Yvette Rocheron
In France and England & Wales rape is now understood as a diverse social phenomenon. It is reported, counted, categorized, and dealt with by the authorities as a serious crime. Yet, despite notable initiatives intended to improve the conviction of alleged perpetrators, major hurdles for alleged victims remain. We show how rape is defined and prosecuted in France and England & Wales, and we use statistical analyzes to understand the scale of the problem, still largely unknown. We also discuss recent controversies (attrition rate;loicadre), exploring a culture of scepticism among police and judiciary that causes complaints to be dropped or downgraded to lesser crimes. Our interview material from France explores two difficulties: When is rape not rape? Did the alleged victim consent to the penetration? Finally we analyze the paradoxical role played by voluntary victim support groups that resist but also collude with a complex regulatory system that fails those who do not speak in legitimate codes.
Mika Vuori and Mika Gissler
The 1970s could be said to be the ‘golden age’ for social and well-being indicators. After a period of slow progress, new indicators were devised in Europe during the mid-1990s, however, improvements are still needed in the knowledge and scientific theories behind these indicators. New indicators need to be developed and comparable multinational statistics need to be collected. The purpose of this article is to present key findings on social quality in Finland. The situation will be described with data at national level with some international comparisons, derived from different resources of statistics and research. Furthermore, the underlying trends that affect the social quality of Finnish people will be described.
The Name Taboo, the Number Taboo
In 2005, black people in France decided to create a national organization: the CRAN. The country had lived for decades on the myth of human rights and equality, and as a result, minorities were invisible, and were expected to remain so. Therefore, the two most important goals of the CRAN have been: to give a name, to give a figure. The taboo of the name was broken when black people decided to stand up for what they are, to call themselves "black," however unusual this might sound in French public discourse; the taboo of the figure was also broken when the CRAN decided to launch the issue of ethnic statistics in France. Until then, blacks would not exist as such in this country, and racial discrimination would remain ignored for the most part. But since this campaign was launched, ethnic statistics have become an important issue. The debate is still going on.
Konstantin B. Klokov
In the 1990s, dramatic socio-economic changes caused by the collapse of the Soviet Union greatly impacted reindeer husbandry across Russia. The overall decline of reindeer population at the federal level can be directly linked to economic reforms, which affected all branches of the economy. However, different local herding communities adopted different strategies, which resulted in various and even contradictory trends of reindeer numbers at the regional level. This article analyzes this diversity using statistics from the federal, regional, and local levels, and interviews with herders in different northern regions.
Göran Therborn and Sonia Therborn
‘Social quality’ is not a common term in Sweden and its sister notion ‘quality of life’ is used mainly with respect to the conditions of particular individuals and rarely, if ever, in social analysis. Swedish social statistics and social studies focus on ‘levels of living’ or ‘living conditions’. The perceived subjectivity connotations of ‘quality’ in this context have not been attractive. On the other hand, Swedish social research and policy evaluation have de facto been very much concerned with measuring what may properly be called qualitative dimensions of living conditions and correspondingly less interested in, for example, the possession of consumer goods.
Conditions of Social Transformation, 1990s–early 2000s
Translator : Jenanne Ferguson
Based on a comprehensive analysis of census data, this article examines social and demographic development in one of the youngest regions of Russian Federation, the Republic of Tuva, at the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first. The given statistics provide the characteristics of the quantitative and qualitative changes in the population, and the socioeconomic conditionality and the laws of its reproduction are analyzed in order to reveal various issues in the implementation of social policy in modern Russia and its regions.
Russia's Frozen Frontier: A History of Siberia and the Russian Far East, 1581–1991: Alan Wood Ryan Tucker Jones
The Raven's Gift: A Scientist, a Shaman, and Their Remarkable Journey through the Siberian Wilderness: Jon Turk; On the Run in Siberia: Rane Willerslev Alexander D. King
Frontier Encounters: Knowledge and Practice at the Russian, Chinese and Mongolian Border: Frank Billé, Grégory Delaplace, and Caroline Humphrey Laura Siragusa
Indigenous People and Demography: The Complex Relation between Identity and Statistics: Per Axelsson and Peter Sköld, eds. Anna Bara
Aboriginal Health in Canada: Historical, Cultural and Epidemiological Perspectives, 2nd edition: James D. Waldram, D. Ann Herring, and T. Kue Young Zoe Todd
Books Received for Review
According to recent polls by US News and World Report, there are today 119 million U.S. citizens who class themselves as 'actively believing' Christians. Of these, more than eighty million profess to attend church more than once every week. Extrapolating from this same survey, more than sixty million Americans believe their Christian faith to be the only true religion. And more than eighty-five million claim to have had a personal experience of being brought into direct contact with God. This is a figure that some pollsters and statisticians, including Gallup, the largest polling organization in the world, consider potentially flawed. This is particularly interesting because Gallup is himself an evangelical believer. So for him to suggest that the stats have been skewed says a lot. As someone who has studied econometrics and statistics at both the undergraduate level in the U.S., and then in graduate business school in the U.K., I can state unequivocably that all of these statistics contain an element of truth. But they also are colored by who is asking, where they are asked, and how the questions are phrased. Even then, they do not tell the entire story.