Article in edited volume

Morgane Labbé (2019)

National indifference, statistics and the constructivist paradigm. The case of the Tutejsi (‘the people from here’) in interwar Polish censuses

Publisher Maarten Van Ginderachter and Jon Fox
Publishing house Routledge
Place of publication London
Language English

ISBN: 9781138503489

This chapter challenges the centrality of statistical bureaucracies for constructivist theories when interpreting the construction of nationhood. Labbé examines a small population in the east of Poland that identified themselves in their census forms as Tutejsi, literally meaning 'from here'. Statisticians complained about this local identification but failed to classify these people in a national category. Because sociologists and anthropologists supported the inclusion of a Tutejsi category in the census, the power of statisticians was compromised. Labbé's analysis shows that census-taking was not merely a top-down exercise. It was a mediated practice consisting of interactions between various actors who had their own strategies. The case of the Tutejsi highlights the importance of national indifference when the state attempted to categorize ordinary people.