a potent weapon in…a struggle over the terms of truth
My point has been that we can most profitably look on the deployment of statistics as neither description nor pure propaganda but as a technology for the production of social knowledge and subjectivity. The quantifying sciences are a potent weapon in what is fundamentally a struggle over the terms of truth.
That is from an 1993 article in American Ethnologist, entitled “cultural politics in an age of statistics: numbers, nations, and the making of Basque identity,” by Jacqueline Urla. I assigned it last week in my graduate seminar on Ethnic Politics in Comparative Perspective. The week’s reading was devoted to measurement.