Statactivism (Ofer Abarbanel online library)

The French movement of statactivism advocates for the mobilization of statistics in support to social movements and agendas [1].

Content

The program of French statactivistts is to ‘fight against’ as well as ‘fight with’ numbers, using a variety of possible strategies [2][3]:

  • ‘Statistical judo’. This is a strategy of self-defence, whereby existing measures are ‘gamed’ as prescribed by the Goodhart’s law;
  • Denouncing the inadequacy or bias or unfairness of existing indicators and measures, e.g. from official statistics of poverty or inequality [4];
  • Developing alternative indicators to substitute for those above [4];
  • Identifying social contexts and problems which are invisible to existing statistics

Statactivism’s intellectually belongs to the tradition of sociology of numbers [2][5][6][7]. Following Alain Desrosières [7] and Theodore Porter [8], statactivists use statistics as a “tool of weakness”, which offer to the weak members of society the opportunity to act against their oppression by making injustice visible [7].

References

  1. ^ Bruno, E. Didier, and T. Vitale, “Editorial: Statactivism: forms of action between disclosure and affirmation,” Open J. Sociopolitical Stud., vol. 2, no. 7, pp. 198–220, 2014.
  2. ^ Jump up to:ab Bruno, E. Didier, and J. Prévieux, Statactivisme. Comment lutter avec des nombres. Paris: Zones, La Découverte, 2014.
  3. ^ Bruno, E. Didier, and T. Vitale, “Special Issue. Statistics and Activism,” Particip. Conflict. Open J. Sociopolitical Stud., vol. 7, no. 2, 2014.
  4. ^ Jump up to:ab Concialdi, “Le BIP40: alerte sur la pauvreté,” in Statactivisme. Comment lutter avec des nombres, I. Bruno, E. Didier, and J. Prévieux, Eds. Zones, La Découverte, 2014, pp. 199–211.
  5. ^ Desrosières, The politics of large numbers : a history of statistical reasoning. Harvard University Press, 1998.
  6. ^ Didier, America by the numbers : quantification, democracy, and the birth of national statistics. MIT press, 2020.
  7. ^ Jump up to:ab c Desrosières, “Statistics and social critique,” Open J. Sociopolitical Stud., vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 348–359, 2014.
  8. ^ M. Porter, Trust in Numbers: The Pursuit of Objectivity in Science and Public Life. Princeton University Press, 1995.
  9. ^Society for the Social Studies of Quantification – SSSQ

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