Sunday, September 19, 2010

Salsa dancing with Harper

            The Census of Canada, with its standard reliance on “hard” and “canonical” methods for generating data, provides a sort of snapshot of Canadian society with which the government sets its priorities. The current debate in Parliament over scrapping the long form census highlights the fact raised in Luker (2008), that methods for collecting data, and the ends they serve (e.g. ‘power’), are anything but neutral. The government’s push to minimize the Census also signifies a reversal of the trend since the Great Depression and Second World War of employing similar methods to asses the expanding role of government in society (Luker, 2008, p.27).    
            It is also relevant to consider the implications of cutting down the census for the myriad groups who rely on it as a vital source for their research (here is one example: In other words, this case clearly illustrates how the work of “legitimate” knowledge creators (e.g. NGOs) who society, including academics, now rely on to shape their understandings of social reality is not isolated from broader systems of power (Luker, 2008). Thus, I believe,we must be conscious of these sorts of things as good salsa-dancing researchers...   

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