Book Launch: "The Global Politics of Census Taking"

Mon Mar 25 2024 at 05:30 pm to 07:30 pm

IASH | Edinburgh

Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH)
Publisher/HostInstitute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH)
Book Launch: "The Global Politics of Census Taking"
"The Global Politics of Census Taking: Quantifying Populations, Institutional Autonomy, Innovation", edited by Dr Walter Bartl and others
About this Event

We invite you to join us in celebrating the publication of The Global Politics of Census Taking: Quantifying Populations, Institutional Autonomy, Innovation (Routledge 2024), a new book edited by Dr Walter Bartl (IASH Visiting Research Fellow 2024), Prof. Christian Suter and Prof. Alberto Veira-Ramos.

Dr Bartl will present the book, and may be joined virtually by contributors for a Q&A. The event will be followed by a drinks reception.

This book examines in detail the state of the art on census taking to spark a more vivid debate on what some may see as a rather technical – and hence uncontroversial – field of inquiry.

Against the backdrop of controversy between instrumental and performative theoretical stances towards census taking, it analyses the historical trajectories and political implications of seemingly technical decisions made during the quantification process by focusing on the 2020 round of censuses, which have been particularly revealing as activities have been affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing containment policies. Through case studies of countries from the Global North and the Global South, the book highlights the consequences of, and innovations and challenges in census taking focusing on three particular areas of concern – the politics of the census in terms of identity politics; the institutional autonomy of the census; and significant and transformative methodological innovations.

This book will be of key interest to scholars, students and practitioners of quantification studies, and social demography and more broadly to public policy, governance, comparative politics and the broader social sciences.

The Open Access version of this book, available at, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution‑Non Commercial‑No Derivatives (CC‑BY‑NC‑ND) 4.0 license.

Dr Walter Bartl is project coordinator at the Institute for Higher Education Research Halle-Wittenberg and senior lecturer at the Institute of Sociology at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany. He studied sociology and political science at the Universities of Potsdam and Lancaster. He received his PhD in sociology from Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg where he also obtained his postdoctoral lecture qualification (Habilitation). His research interests include the genesis and use of numbers in politics, spatial justice research, and knowledge transfer. Recently, he was a vising fellow at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and at the NCCR – on the move at the University of Geneva.

This is a free event, which means we overbook to allow for no-shows and to avoid empty seats. While we generally do not have to turn people away, this does mean we cannot guarantee everyone a place. Admission is on a first come, first served basis.


This event will take place at IASH, 2 Hope Park Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9NW, and also online via Zoom Webinar. Please see a map here:

The Seminar Room is on the first floor, and unfortunately IASH does not have a lift. If you have mobility issues and would like to discuss access, please contact [email protected] as soon as possible.


Event Venue & Nearby Stays

IASH, The Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, Edinburgh, United Kingdom


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