Friday, October 8, 2010

CFP: CJS Special Issue: “Counting and Contemporary Governance”

Special Issue of The Canadian Journal of Sociology on: “Counting and Contemporary Governance”

Guest Editor:
Michael Haan, University of New Brunswick

In 1801, one of the first modern censuses in the western world was launched in the United Kingdom, motivated in part by Prime Minister Pitt's fear that Malthus's predictions about population outstripping resources signaled impending doom. At the time, only a full headcount could settle the score, helping to establish the practice of turning to numbers to solve an issue of governance. This link still exists today, which is why nearly every country counts its population.

More recently, Canada’s Conservative government stopped collecting what had previously been the mandatory long-form census data with a voluntary National Household Survey. Prime Minister Stephen Harper justified the decision as a move to increase individual liberty; detractors say that the loss of information will affect us all.

This move and the attendant political fallout has created a space for sociological reflection on the interplay between population data collection, modern governance and the politics of numbers.

Subject Coverage

Motivated by the abolishment of the long-form census, this special issue of Canadian Journal of Sociology invites contributions that address, but are not be limited to:
• What is the role of large-scale enumerations? Are they less important today than they used to be?
• Does abolishing one data collection exercise simply encourage other forms?  Do these other forms already exist?
• How does data collection limit governments? Does reliance on census data, for example, constrain governance?
• Can the Harper government's decision to abolish the long-form census be read alongside a re-negotiation between Canadians and their government? Does this signify a new social contract, or a fulfillment of the original one?
• What are the implications of the change to voluntary survey for Canadian sociology?
• What political factors motivated this change in policy?

Please note that the question of whether the shift to a voluntary survey in Canada is good or bad does not appear in the above list. Authors might inevitably touch on this question, but the purpose of this special issue is to provide a space for social scientists to use this development concerning the long-form to engage in a more reflexive dialog on how or whether data collection fits into the modern governmental episteme.

Notes for Prospective Authors

Papers for this special issue will be assessed in a two-step process. First, interested authors should submit an abstract to the guest editor for consideration. Only successful authors will be asked for a full manuscript. These papers should not have been previously published nor currently be under consideration for publication elsewhere, as they will undergo a peer-review process. An invitation to submit a full paper to CJS is not a guarantee of acceptance.

Important Dates

Abstracts are requested from interested parties by December 1, 2010, and the editor will then invite for a full paper with final manuscripts expected no later than: 1 July 2011

Editors and Notes

Please email ( or mail your abstracts to:
Michael Haan
135A Carleton Hall
Department of Sociology,
University of New Brunswick
Fredericton, NB E3B 5A3