Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Making It CountStatistics and Statecraft in the Early People’s Republic of China$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Arunabh Ghosh

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691179476

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691179476.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 25 May 2022

Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.1) 1 Introduction
Source:
Making It Count
Author(s):

Arunabh Ghosh

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691179476.003.0001

This introductory chapter introduces a “crisis of counting” during the early years of the People's Republic of China (PRC). In its simplest form, the crisis in the PRC was understood as a problem of building a centralized statistical system. At the heart of the varied solutions attempted by Chinese statisticians was a contentious debate about the very nature of social reality and the place and efficacy of mathematical statistics—in particular, probability theory—in ascertaining that reality. This debate played out against a backdrop populated by three divergent methodological approaches to statistics and statistical work. After all, abstract ideas about the nature of the world, whether defined by chance or certainty, have real world consequences. Chinese deliberations over such questions and their engagement with the Ethnographic, Exhaustive, and Stochastic approaches during the 1950s exemplify some of those consequences. The chapter unpacks these choices and traces how statistics in its various forms—as a (social) science, as a profession, and as an activity—came to be formulated and practiced, shedding light on fundamental questions germane to the histories of the People's Republic, statistics and data, and mid-century science.

Keywords:   statistics, crisis of counting, People's Republic of China, PRC, socialist utopia, probability theory, Chinese statisticians, social reality, methodological approaches, mid-century science

Princeton Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.