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The focus is on the limitations, politics, and spatiality of statistical knowledge in colonial Kenya, with particular reference to population and agricultural statistics. The objective is to contribute to recent debates surrounding the role of statistics and enumeration within colonial government and, in particular, research emphasizing the uneven nature of colonial statistical knowledge. It is shown that this unevenness took particular forms in a settler colonial context such as Kenya, where state enumeration was enrolled within particular kinds of political contestations and objectives. These centered on the conflicts between settler capitalism and African production, and resulting demands made on the colonial state. Statistical knowledge concentrated on settler production, but was extended to African areas and economic activities in accordance with specific economic and political objectives. This historical perspective helps to explain why the colonial statistical record in Kenya is piecemeal, incomprehensive and largely blind to specificities of “the urban” as a domain of knowledge and practice.
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- A Piecemeal Avalanche: the Uneven Topography of Statistics in Colonial Kenya, c. 1900 to 1952
- Springer Netherlands
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