Franklin

Making it count : statistics and statecraft in the early People's Republic of China / Arunabh Ghosh.

Author/Creator:
Ghosh, Arunabh, 1980- author.
Publication:
Princeton : Princeton University Press, [2020]
Series:
Histories of economic life
Histories of economic life
Format/Description:
Book
xvi, 340 pages, 9 unnumbered pages of plates ; 25 cm.
Subjects:
Statistics -- Political aspects -- China -- History -- 20th century.
China -- Statistical services -- History -- 20th century.
Statistical services.
China.
Form/Genre:
History.
Summary:
"Among the biggest challenges facing leaders of the newly established People's Republic of China (PRC) was how much they did not know. In 1949, at the end of a long sequence of wars, the government of one of the largest states in the world committed to fundamentally re-engineering its society and economy via socialist planning while having almost no hard, reliable statistical data about their own country. This book is a history of attempts made to resolve this "crisis in counting." Drawing on a wealth of official, institutional, and private sources culled from China, India, and the United States, the author explores the choices made and the effects they engendered through a series of vivid encounters with political leaders, professional statisticians, academics, ordinary statistical workers, and even literary figures. Early reliance on Soviet-inspired methods of enumeration became increasingly untenable in China by the middle of the 1950s. A series of unprecedented and unexpected exchanges with Indian statisticians followed, as the Chinese sought to learn about the then exciting new technology of random sampling. These developments were, in turn, overtaken by the tumult of the Great Leap Forward (1958-1961), when both probabilistic and exhaustive methods were rejected and statistics was refashioned into an essentially ethnographic enterprise. The author argues that this history, usually narrowly described as a universal, if European history, cannot be understood without acknowledging Soviet and Indian influences which not only revises existing models of Cold War science but also globalizes the wider developments in the history of statistics and data. For historians of China and social science, and political scientists, sociologists, and anthropologists studying modern China"-- Provided by publisher.
Contents:
A new type of standardized statistical work
Ascertaining social fact
No "mean" solution : reformulating statistics, disciplining scientists
The nature of statistical work
To "ardently love statistical work" : state (in-) capacity, professionalization, and their discontents
Seeking common ground amidst differences : the turn to India
A "great leap" in statistics.
Notes:
Revision of author's thesis (doctoral)--Columbia University, 2014, titled Making it count : statistics and state-society relations in the early People's Republic of China, 1949-1959.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Other format:
Online version: Ghosh, Arunabh, 1980- Making it count.
ISBN:
9780691179476
0691179476
9780691199214
OCLC:
1119531958
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