Categories of counting: Constructions of South African national identity in South Africa's

Show simple item record Peberdy, Sally 2011-04-20T10:18:23Z 2011-04-20T10:18:23Z 1999-05-08
dc.description African Studies Seminar series. Paper presented 8 May [1999]. en_US
dc.description.abstract The boundaries of modern nation-states delimit the territory controlled by the state. The designation of places or ports of entry on the borders of modern nation-states allows the counting of movement in and out. Immigration and migration statistics, however flawed, reflect the state's desire to know who is entering and leaving its territorial jurisdiction. They are, therefore, part of the process whereby a state constructs knowledge about the people that inhabit its territory. Immigration statistics also indicate who the state is prepared to receive as new members of the nation, and on what terms. Accordingly, the collection and presentation of immigration statistics, and the categories used to classify and count, are deeply embedded in the national project and the construction of national identity. When collecting information on those who enter, the state chooses what it wants to know. Who and what it decides to count reflects what it sees as important information as well as its concerns and anxieties about itself and the nation. The way that the information is categorized, ordered and displayed provides further insights into the priorities and preferences of the state. Methods and categories of counting in South Africa, as well as the way these categories were ordered in immigration returns, changed over time. Change was particularly apparent at moments when the state was consolidating or seeking to reinvent its notions of national identity. Immigration statistics, therefore, also tell a story of changing constructions of national identity and the priorities and anxieties of the South African state. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.relation.ispartofseries African Studies Institute;ISS 342
dc.subject Nationalism. South Africa en_US
dc.subject South Africa. Emigration and immigration. Government policy en_US
dc.title Categories of counting: Constructions of South African national identity in South Africa's en_US
dc.type Working Paper en_US

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