Making sense of surveys and censuses: Issues in religious self-identification

Day, Abby and Lee, Lois. 2014. Making sense of surveys and censuses: Issues in religious self-identification. Religion, 44(3), pp. 345-356. ISSN 0048-721X [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Censuses and surveys shape decisions, discourse and debates about people and their lived environments. The outcomes, in the case of a census, inform governments about resource distribution but also shape people's self-understanding about who they are and where they may be going. How people self-identify on censuses and surveys produces certain types of knowledge. This introduction emphasises the impact of those instruments on knowledge production and how numbers can be employed, often anecdotally, to further interests and claims. The way academics use and interpret such instruments has ethical and normative dimensions: numbers are not neutral but shape and are shaped by perceptions and identities. This introduction to a thematic issue of Religion introduces the contributing authors' diverse – historical, qualitative and quantitative – approaches that work together to produce their own kind of multi-disciplinary, academically located knowledge.

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census, survey, self-identification, ethics, knowledge

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10 July 2014Published

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Date Deposited:

29 Oct 2014 10:50

Last Modified:

04 Jul 2017 14:38

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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