Global histories of the social survey in the long nineteenth century
18. Februar | 09:15
Global histories of the social survey in the long nineteenth century
Centre Marc Bloch, 18-19.02.2020
In cooperation with the Leibniz Institute of European History (IEG)
Leibniz Institute of European History (IEG)
Tuesday, February 18
9.15 – 9.30 a.m.
9.30 a.m. – 1.00 p.m.
Panel 1: Forms, practices and technologies of social and colonial surveys
Chair and commentary: Irmela Gorges (Berlin)
Julien Vincent (Paris I): Land surveying and colonization: the political economy of the New Zealand Company (1837-1853)
Anne Kwaschik (Konstanz): “La colonisation est une science qui ne s’improvise pas”: The scientification of colonialism in the age of empire
Frederico Agoas (Lisbon): Towards an integrated historical sociology of Portuguese imperial and metropolitan social research
1.00 – 2.00 p.m.
2.00 – 5.30 p.m.
Panel 2: Enquêtes et contre-enquêtes: Epistemic resistance, appropriations and inquiries from below
Chair and commentary: Johannes Paulmann (Mainz)
Philipp Reick (Berlin/Jerusalem): In awe of numbers: A workers’ malady
Amadou Dramé (Paris/Dakar): “Se tenir au courant de tous les faits et gestes des lettrés musulmans”. Le broussard et l’enquête coloniale sur l’islam en Afrique occidentale française
Leyla Dakhli (Berlin): Thinking “Eastern society” through minorities: A construction of orientalist expertise
6.00 – 8.00 p.m.
Keynote: Andrea Ploder (Constance): Making and appropriating methods. Towards a historical praxeology of qualitative research
Commentary: Fabian Link (Francfort/Wuppertal)
Wednesday, February 19
9.30 a.m. – 12.30 p.m.
Panel 3: “Global histories of inquiries”? Methodological elements, questions and challenges of a historical-political epistemology of the early social sciences
Chair and commentary: Jakob Vogel (Berlin)
Fabian Link (Francfort/Wuppertal): Writing the history of the social sciences as historical epistemology and as history of intellectual practices
Nicolas Hatzfeld (Evry Val d’Essonne): Présentation de l’ouvrage collectif Les enquêtes ouvrières dans l’Europe contemporaine (La Découverte, 2019 ; sous la dir. de E. Geerkens, N. Hatzfeld, I. Lespinet-Moret et X. Vigna) (with simultaneous translation)
Land surveying and colonization: the political economy of the New Zealand Company (1837-1853)
During the nineteenth century, political economists promoted a new understanding of “land” that was quite distinct from previous definitions by agronomists or chemists. In their hands, land became, not so much a flow of matter as a flow of cash. Their theoretical definition of land as a factor of production went together with new tools of government: two forms of knowledge were particularly important, cadastral maps and accounting documents. This paper is a case study of the construction of “land” as a new category of government, both of populations and their environments, during the early phase of New Zealand Colonisation. During 1837 and 1850, the New Zealand Company attempted to apply the famous theory of “systematic colonization” designed by Edward Gibbon Wakefield, to the colonization of Maori lands. In this paper I first look at the reception of economic ideas of land in British provinces, then at how these theoretical ideas were turned into instruments of government. Finally, I look at various forms of resistance in New Zealand. The failure of Wakefield’s liberal and agricultural utopia opened the way to a pastoral economy and to a period of colonial wars with Maori iwis.
“La colonisation est une science qui ne s’improvise pas”: The scientification of colonialism in the age of empire
At the turn of the 19th century, new and integrated perspectives on cultures and societies as a whole emerged. Social and colonial reform projects demanding socio-economic data and innovative modes of their use drove this development forward. In this paper, I explore key moments and practices of this process that I suggest framing as scientification of colonialism. (Kwaschik 2018) Taking the discourse of the “social side of colonisation” as a starting point I intend to show how European colonial communities contributed to the establishment of the colonial as object of scientific knowledge and administrative regulation by means of drafting and circulating questionnaires. The paper emphasises the importance of the questionnaire as a vital tool for the construction and organisation of knowledge about indigenous people and their way of life at this early stage of state-related scientific colonialism.
Towards an integrated historical sociology of Portuguese imperial and metropolitan social research
In general, the history of social research has been largely fragmented according to its respective fields of application, whether central or peripheral nations and sovereign or colonial territories, privileging metropolitan, industrial and liberal settings. Taking into account Portugal’s historical position on the world scene and the country’s contemporary transition from a backward constitutional monarchy, progressive republic and fascist dictatorship to a modern liberal democracy, this presentation offers an overview of the parallel (yet converging) development from the 1880s onwards of Portuguese imperial and metropolitan social research in order to explore the paradigmatic reach of this national case. This is part of an ongoing project which aims at assessing the comparative significance of state and university initiative (among other agents) in the development of studies about the living conditions of homeland and colonial populations and the relative weight of such practices in the mutual constitution of the social sciences and social policies.
In awe of numbers: A workers’ malady
In this talk I analyze early socialist and trade union discussions of social surveys as a strategy and resource in political struggle. Focusing on German workers’ periodicals that appeared in the last third of the nineteenth century, my presentation will explore not only how social surveys were negotiated but also how the movement tried to build expertise and institutions of their own – institutions that were dedicated to improving statistical knowledge on all spheres of working-class life. I am particularly interested in how local leadership interpreted workers’ inertia and often downright indifference toward surveys and social statistics. My presentation thus studies what a socialist author described in the mid-1880s as a generic workers’ malady, namely their inexplicable but persistent “awe of numbers.” A piece of work in progress, the presentation will also highlight the potential of recently digitized workers’ periodicals for new approaches in social and working-class history.
“Se tenir au courant de tous les faits et gestes des lettrés musulmans”. Le broussard et l’enquête coloniale sur l’islam en Afrique occidentale française
« Les choses durent par l’esprit qui les a créées et par son incarnation dans une équipe d’hommes capable de le servir. En Afrique Noire, cette équipe fut symbolisée par un type d’Européen africanisé : le broussard ».
Le broussard est le personnage emblématique, de la présence coloniale française en Afrique de l’Ouest. Autorité la plus proche des populations africaines et socle de l’appareil administrative, il est la cheville ouvrière de la politique coloniale. Il est chargé de recenser les populations de son territoire, nommer les chefs de villages, organiser la collecte des impôts et autres prestations (travail forcé et indigénat), préserver l’ordre publique en dirigeant les services police et administrer la justice. Le métier du broussard est vaste et multiple. Ce qui m’intéresse dans cette présentation, c’est celui de producteur de savoirs administratifs sur les lettrés musulmans. Rédacteur des rapports politiques et autres fiches d’enquêtes sur l’islam et les marabouts, destinés à remonter l’appareil colonial, il se trouvait dans une double confluence, à savoir les directives ministérielles ou gouvernementales et la gestion pratique des administrés.
Mon propos se focalisera sur la position d’entre-deux que le broussard incarne dans le déroulement de l’enquête administrative sur les marabouts. En fait, ce fonctionnaire était à la fois récepteur et émetteur de savoirs sur les lettrés musulmans. Récepteur, parce qu’il tirait ces savoirs des informations transmises par ces collaborateurs africains ; émetteur car, il chargé – après les traductions de l’interprète – de transcrire les informations sur un rapport ou une fiche. Ici, la parole de l’interprète est graduellement contrainte dans un format textuel requis par la procédure d’établissement de la fiche. C’est l’étape de la mise en format du « vrai » : le renseignement.
Thinking “Eastern society” through minorities: a construction of orientalist expertise
The management of the French Mandates from 1920 onward in Syria and Lebanon is based on a knowledge of the region that is supported by a number of surveys. These are the basis for the creation of the Lebanese and Syrian states. The objective here is to revisit these expertises and their outputs in order to show what type of approach to social issues they bring into play.
Making and appropriating methods: Towards a historical praxeology of qualitative research.
Methods are rarely made from scratch. More often, they are the result of experimental pilot projects, in which researchers employ practices and ideas from previous fields of study and other areas of their everyday lives. What we encounter as methods in textbooks is a retrospective selection of those practices, described in abstract terms, arranged in a certain timeline, and justified with reference to a specific theoretical foundation. During this process of ‘methodification,’ many epistemically productive practices get black-boxed. Once formulated, methods can inform and guide future research practice, but their abstract character leaves a number of practical gaps. The re-translation of methods to practice creates a space for creative, critical, and resistive appropriation, for interpretation, transformation, and excess. In this lecture, I will discuss the dynamics of making and appropriating methods and relate them to some general challenges for a historical praxeology of qualitative research.
Writing the history of the social sciences as historical epistemology and as history of intellectual practices
This paper claims that Thomas S. Kuhn’s view that many social sciences will never gain the level of a paradigmatic science is right. Therefore, the historiography of the social sciences cannot apply the same methods as the historiography of the sciences, such as Kuhn’s. Since the social sciences are epistemologically, methodologically, and intellectually situated between the sciences and the humanities/liberal arts, this paper suggests that a history of the social sciences would need at least two methodological approaches that reflect this position. For more mathematical and science-oriented branches of the social sciences, such as empirical social research, the Historical Epistemology following Gaston Bachelard and Hans-Jörg Rheinberger would be a possible approach to reconstruct the practices of knowledge generating, at least for those cases where a dense archival record is available. For more liberal arts oriented varieties of the social sciences, such as social philosophy or social theory, the paper proposes the application of a history of intellectual practices according to Pierre Bourdieu, Lutz Raphael and Heinz-Elmar Tenorth.
OrtSalle Germaine Tillion
Centre Marc Bloch