Sociology and statistics relationship

sociology and statistics relationship

statistics supports the theories of sociology like any other kind of research. (Hope that helps). Research Methods & Statistics in Sociology Correlational studies are used to predict/look at a relationship between two variables; Sociological variables. The sociology of statistics, a relatively recent approach in the academic world, . for the author, consists of the social and economic relationship between the.

In this respect, the study of the sources, procedure and uses - both intellectual and political - employed in the operations involved in drawing up statistics is the end goal to which the sociology of statistics aspires. This type of analytical care can be seen in what is now considered one of the pioneering studies on the subject. In The sociology of official statistics, which, unless we are mistaken, coined the name for the field, Paul Starrp.

As far as the social organization is concerned, the use of historical research reveals the social foundations of the measurement process. There is the question of the setting up of the infrastructure used to count the population institutional innovationrelated to the creation of the material means for domination of the nation-state, including the alliances established between the elites and the territorial pacts that promote the physical extension of central power.

With respect to the cognitive organization, historical research can investigate decision-making processes about the emergence or abandonment of statistical series 3the adoption of one technological platform or another, one corpus of concepts or another, which effectively constitutes a historical study about the politics of information.

And it is here that we find, for example, a crucial distinction between the activities of the State that deal with singular cases tribunals, for example and those that organize general policies, which are valid for society as a whole. In all of the instances cited above, one sees the overriding intimacy of statistics and the statisticians - who ponder and formulate the statistics - with the nation-states and the sciences. And it is this intimacy that we will be dealing with henceforth.

Censuses long ago proved to be a valuable instrument for administration, helping the State get to know its territory and its population. In this day and age, technical resources involving averages and sampling can appear excessively simple to those of us now familiar with more complex forms of measurement. Military conscription, the marshalling of a country's warriors, proved to be one of the more immediate uses of censuses, although undoubtedly they were not easy to conduct.

This is especially true when we think back to societies such as the Greeks and Romans, for whom war was an endemic phenomenon, where the social mobilization required to 'make war' accounted for the bulk of the productive lives of its citizens.

It was necessary for the state monopolies of a military and tax order to advance, at the dawning of the Modern Age, in order for population surveys to grow in importance in the administrative structure. A pedagogic role was served by statistics, largely due to their detailed descriptions of a given territory and its subjects, primarily aimed at educating and guiding the absolute sovereign.

Quantified and periodic information reserved for the administrators were added to the descriptive scenarios. At the end of the day, statistics were the basis for the fiscal control of mercantile policies. It was believed that the wealth of the world was limited and expressed in favorable trade balances. Economic and financial activities should be totally subservient to the State, seeking to increase its power under the sovereignty of the king.

Any improvement in the life of the subjects was only seen in secondary terms, as it was accepted that monarchs had the power of life and death over their subjects. In a world that was extending through imperial colonization, it was essential to ensure that revenues grew by creating and applying taxes.

As a direct result of this, the population censuses continued, even advancing in terms of what details they provided and in the innovatory use of various others, including customs records of imports and exports, used largely for the purposes of taxation.

Registration of births, marriages and deaths was then added, separate from religious records. Armed with civil lists, the States began to affirm the civil condition of their subjects, signifying that only they could confirm a person's status, irrespective of the religion they adopted Senra,p. It is undeniable that the relationship between the centralization of administration in nation-states grew along with the desire for statistics. However, for a patrimonialist State, in which goods and people are administered privately, as dependents of a sovereign lord, statistics were seen as the monarch's prerogative and, as such, a state secret.

No information was passed to civil society separate from the State, and even less attention paid to autonomous public opinion. Within this administrative scenario, it is assumed that statistics not only revealed the powers but also the weaknesses of the States. Externally, the more that was kept hidden from the enemy the better, and this is achieved by keeping statistics confidential.

As far as the internal plan was concerned, statistics remained a material instrument of state power and vigilance. They were placed in the dimension of the coercive relationship between the sovereigns and their subjects. This is therefore far removed from the contemporary sense of statistics, characterized by an environment of cooperation between citizens and their representatives, by the principle of credibility in carrying out census polls promoted by policies related to the publicity of information and ensuring the anonymity of the informants providing the information.

Locating the historical origins of this profound change requires scrutiny of the development of a 'statistical reason' in the wake of a 'modernity reason. As stated by Michel de Certeaup. An autonomous surface is placed under the gaze of the subjects, which gives them a means to do something of their own making," and on which they circumscribe a space for their own distinct production, by which they can implement their will and action.

The author goes on to affirm that the "this very revolution, this 'modern' idea, represents the draft project at the level of society as a whole, and one that has the ambition to see itself legibly formed on a blank page in relation to the past, to write for itself with its own system, and to remake history using a model made by them this being 'progress' " p.

In fact, the experience of a political revolution, such as the French revolution, appears to have entirely restructured the attitude of western humanity. The rupture of modernity with the 'traditional cosmos' had no precedent.

sociology and statistics relationship

In defense of this idea, it is worth citing the historian Ciro Flamarion Cardoso quoted in Moraes, Rego,p. The contemporary social and political revolutions - from the French into those in andwith their extremely varied trajectories depending on the case - show that, when victorious, human societies are mutable in nature. The embryo of this rationale has perhaps already been seen in what has conventionally been called the 'reason of State' since the seventeenth century.

Michel Foucault was one of the first to relate the evocation of this reason with the reinvention of the notion of government, based on the external perception of the political phenomenon: At this time a distinct rationale appeared about the art of governing the States, separate from the sphere of nature, respect for general world order, Christian and judicial traditions, with the intention of ensuring a profoundly fair and just government.

The contractualist philosophers, such as Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, who sought the ethical and political origins of the State in the notion of a social contract, can be considered the precursors of this doctrine. Thus the exercising of power was depersonalized.

What is the relationship between statistics and sociology

Unlike Machiavelli, who was concerned with defining what maintained or reinforced the ties between the Prince and State, and not with the very existence or nature of the latter. Machiavelli was also concerned with the exercise of the sovereign's power over his territory; and did not see the endless resources for the production of wealth in the movements of the population.

In these terms, the need to increase the power of the State and to know its strength, resisting the encroachments of any others, created an entirely new normative reality: Knowledge is necessary; concrete, precise, and measured knowledge as to the state's strength.

The art of governing, characteristic of reason of state, is intimately bound up with the development of what was then called either political statistics, or arithmetic; that is, the knowledge of different states' respective forces. Such knowledge was indispensable for correct government Foucault,p. In the previous passage, Foucault refers to two distinct traditions: Both had something in common - the regaining of a specific domain for operation of the State, endowed with its own intelligibility, and dedicated to increasing its power and visibility in the international community.

Since the outset, the Germanic tradition made every effort to show a synthetic understanding of social activities and human groupings. This tradition's focal point was the study of the communities in states, regions, cities or professions, taken as a whole, although endowed with specific powers, and only described by a combination of numerous aspects: Gottfried Achenwall has been credited as the person who coined the term statistik, and is its major exponent.

With strongly descriptive characteristics, it was not initially involved with the collection and analysis of numbers any more than history or geography. Its task was to describe, while the use of the summarized numeric tabulations was at the convenience of their idealizer, as the case required.

It is not difficult to predict that, given the low operational level of these contributions, their authors developed a solid academic formation, albeit without achieving any real practical application. We should not underestimate the argumentative strength of statistics as a discourse about the truth, capable of capping controversy with reason, which had already been perceived by these men.

If statistics currently remove some of the legitimacy of their official statute, in the moments that followed their invention they become indispensable for the founding of the State's domination. In the second half of the seventeenth century, the English political arithmeticians were already certain about the situation, and this is the reason for the term 'political' used in the expression 'arithmetic.

But he was already aware of the value of numbers in official discourses, which he considered indispensable to the art of governing. In his book Political Arithmetick, only published inhe speaks of the creation of a method that was specific to the compilation of statistics.

Unfortunately, primarily concerned with the task of counseling the King, he symptomatically valued the political ends rather than explaining the means, or the actual method itself. With the aim of calculating the number of subjects, which determined the extent of the power of the State, men like Petty, the businessman John Graunt and official Davenant created maxims of ethical virtue founded with the purpose of maximizing the population.

As 'apostles of procreation,' they condemned the consumption of alcohol, gaming, prostitution, urban life, sacerdotal celibacy and even war, which could be avoided by removing the obstacles to natural demographic growth p. It is easy to see the difference between them and the German statisticians.

They were not academic theorists setting up charts and logical descriptions of the State in general, but men from diverse backgrounds and educations, who had accumulated a given practical knowledge during the course of their normal activities, and were keen to offer it to the government.

They were the first to adopt mathematics as an indirect method of estimating population growth based on the regularities observed in vital statistics. They delivered a decisive blow on religious concepts about death, until then seen as the fruit of fortune or divine castigation, by conceiving the phenomenon as one that can potentially be known and measured by universal laws.

The accumulation of written biographic traits of individuals makes statistical aggregation feasible, which is a way of thinking about the collective based on the individual and on the basis of same.

sociology and statistics relationship

And it is here we find the limits of statistical activity, in the scenario of an absolute monarchy. The social differentiation in the hierarchical structure of the Old Regime encountered even more severe restrictions on the general principle that subjects can be freely manipulated according to the will of the sovereign. In no case whatsoever were individuals treated as individuals or autonomous persons, and always as members of orders and states. The foundation of statistics - comparative equivalence - could not be considered as a premise for measurement, whereas the notions of personality and universality failed to displace the naturalized differences founded on privileges and corporations.

Although political arithmetic and the German tradition were already, each in their own way, "an answer for the Modern States in operational terms, of the ambition for knowledge inseparable from the desire for manipulation of men" Furet, Ozouf,p. In any event, the 'consequences of modernity' have a much wider reach and have been felt since the seventeenth century.

This is the case, for example, of the changes in political technology that took place in the eighteenth century, which led to overriding the model of family management as ideal for good government.

It is when the notion of population was conceived and understood as a fundamental resource of State Power, the movements and composition of which should be known and controlled by specific areas of knowledge, by sciences of the State.

The rationalization of the exercise of power as a general practice of the government is defined by Michel Foucault as 'governmentality' and, according to the author, deals with the ensemble formed by the institutions, procedures, analyses and reflections, the calculations and tactics that allow the exercise of this very specific albeit complex form of power, which has as its target population, as its principal form of knowledge political economy, and as its essential technical means apparatuses of security If the biggest challenge of the statesperson becomes governing the economy and from there the great success known as political economicsstatistics are vital, given that they 'construct' the public spaces that statespersons should know and upon which they can act: Finally, it shows that, through its shifts, customs, activities, and so on, population has specific economic effects Foucault,p.

Despite the previous innovations, it was only from the nineteenth century onwards that population censuses began to register and count at an individual level, no longer solely referenced to households as a minimum unit in terms of numbers, which took place pari passu with the publicity and wider release of information. Even more significant is the separation of the statistical agencies from the institutions responsible for charging taxes and executing the law, freeing up these areas from their former role of vigilance.

Endowed with institutional and administrative autonomy, this was the first official space designed exclusively for statistics, an indispensible condition for the development of research methodologies and techniques, until then much heralded - as by Petty - but very ineffective. Statistics and scientific concepts: His intellectual activity was first noticed in the effervescent s, in which people lived, more than ever, with the revolutionary uncertainties of a mutating society.

The climate of insecurity led the young Quetelet to dedicate himself to statistics, seeking in them a science of stability and predictability. He was the first to see veritable scientific laws in numeric regularities, well beyond the simple revelation of objective facts.

Anticipating Comte, he coined and consecrated the expression "la physique sociale" - the title of his greatest work - to designate statistics. It only remained for the precursor of positivism to baptize the study of the mechanics of the social relations of sociology.

Quetelet defended the adoption of a single method for all sciences. Combining the administrative vocation of statistics with the techniques of astronomers and mathematicians, he effectively questioned the competence of social reformers physicians and health workers in the area. The astronomer's love of natural order would prove to be the foundation of statistical science. Prior to the nineteenth century, statistical regularities such as the ratio between the births of men and women and the uniformity of murders, robberies and suicides were explained in natural and theological terms, indicating divine will and expressing the general order of the world.

Quetelet proposed an alternative interpretation, based on a cosmology that turned regularity into a natural process in all domains. In the words of Theodore Porterp. Beyond that, he implied that the obliteration of the particular by the general was responsible for the very preservation of society. He created the notion of the average man, an abstract human being, defined by the average of all human attributes in a given country, considered a 'national type,' and thus representative of a given society.

Any deviations were annulled by the resulting average. The responsibility for crimes and deviations could then be distributed within the community in question as a whole.

His major objective was to measure the changes experienced by his 'average man' over the course of time, to reveal the general law of development, discovering the forces that act on a social body to predict its future course p. Quetelet's contribution to history and sociology was immense.

It is worth stopping to examine his contribution more closely, as one of the objectives here is to reveal the richness of the relationship between statisticians and the sciences, in the very constitution of their knowledge and practice. The historian Henry Thomas Buckle, for example, in his work entitled The history of civilization in England, denounced the importance of corporate institutions on historiography, such as the State and nobility, and even religious entities such as the Church, consecrating the relationship between science and society instead.

Avoiding the presentation of history as chronicles of Kings and battles, Buckle was one of the first - and among the most vociferous - opponents of traditional political history. The substance of history does not lie in politics but in society, in the gradual and continuous diffusion of knowledge. An incorrigible enthusiast for material progress, Buckle empathized with the liberalism in England in the s. The fact is that the regularities of statistical science prove to the historian that there are no exceptions to the natural order of the universe, and that it applies to a series of social phenomena Porter,p.

The deviation is reduced to the minimum; the freedom and will of the individuals are denied when they are considered collectively.

The former used the theory of Quetelet's average man to define a uniform and universal category of work and to interpret the theory of the value of work. Durkheim's study on suicide also pays tribute to the master of statistics, as well as his notion of social fact, an objective phenomenon and with its own regularities, isolated from the world of nature. This is the sense of his assertions: As once written by the historian Peter Gayp. After the social physicist had gathered sufficiently solid information, it would be possible to show the probability of an 'individual choice' between embracing a life of crime and committing suicide, between becoming an alcoholic and remaining abstemious.

But this determinism, protested Quetelet, slightly on the defensive, did not make him a fatalist. The type of collective knowledge that he wished to propagate expanded rather than reduced the sphere of freedom of the human soul. In the incessant fight for the recognition of the scientific status of history and sociology, at a time in which the paradigm of the natural sciences was predominant, authors such as Marx and Durkheim did not hesitate to have recourse to Quetelet's postulates of social physics.

They built the methodologies of their arguments on the basis of borrowing statistics, which was then a social science par excellence. Besides the obvious appropriation, there was a fundamental structural transformation, albeit more diffuse and subtle and more obscure to our perception. After Quetelet's formulations and those of the institutional organization of the activity, which we will visit in the next section, statistics became the forerunner in terms of the conceptual classification of social experience.

The consecration of probabilism by statistics raised the demand for its use significantly; largely due to its capacity to predict and intervene in the movements and composition of society. Since the second half of the nineteenth century, the pleasures, vices, violence and, more recently, more intimate questions, such as sex, sleep, friendship and even public fears, have been unremittingly tabulated.

As an instrument of government, statistics gave technical foundations to the politics of normalization and individualization of the deviant elements. In terms of regulating the population, or the "power over life" an expression used by Michel Foucaultthey favor interventions that targeted the social body, a political anatomy focused on the body, biological processes: In contemporary capitalist society, statistics adjust the spatial distribution of individuals to capital accumulation, they articulate the growth of groups to the expansion of productive forces and to the differential division of profits.

Statistics also compartmentalize and create a hierarchy of space in which individuals can be isolated, easily accessed and located. In this way, statistics singularly express the subtlety with which power is exercised, as they do so in the order of the symbolic, to the extent they construct a homogeneous conception a truth on matters that they enumerate and announce, which makes it possible to reach an agreement between the intelligences.

The regularities become perceived in terms of their connections with deviant modes of conduct: The strength of these codifications lies in the realism of the aggregations, through which the conventional becomes real. This is the basis of the individualizing power of statistics. It is present in the appreciation of individuals in general about questions such as race, religion, health, inflation, income, unemployment, poverty, among many others referenced by statistics, which thus provide the terms for public debate about all the related problems.

They foment the descriptions of economic situations, denunciations of social injustice, justifications for political actions, and the organization of interest groups.

In this way, they foster real debate, which serves as input for decision-making by different agents academia, governments, social groups, international organisms, etc.

As benchmarks, the definitions and criteria that govern the classifications can be discussed and contested, but they themselves and their objectives remain indisputable. This is the realism of the aggregations.

This first-order reality, which organizes the conceptual classification of social experience, also pervades all the scientific production, thereby serving as a true table of reference.

sociology and statistics relationship

Since the middle of the nineteenth century, and on an ever-increasing basis, the construction of scientific concepts has been based on interpretations arising from analysis of the categories of classification of the activities and social groups, as we can see in the astute comments made by Ian Hackingp. We will record this warning to the historians of the science, and even to those who study reading practices.

For all the above reasons, figures, tables, charts and classifications are accepted as the reality of the situation they describe, which is indispensible for discussions about the truth they sustain, including the construction of scientific concepts. Thanks to the stable language and broad recognition of statistics, reality and convention become confused. Reality is consecrated by the strength of social representation, which imposes itself as the fundamental problem to be investigated by researchers.

It is present in the academic discussions of statistics, as well as in the discourses of official statistical bodies towards different social actors. These seek to reduce the conventional fundamentals of their production as much as possible, given that the 'realism of the aggregates' is the source that legitimates the activities of official statistical bodies, besides establishing agreement between the individual intelligences, thereby stabilizing social interactions.

But on the other hand, they will add that their measurement reflects a reality. The paradox is that although these two statements are incompatible, it is nonetheless impossible to give a different answer. It is up to the analyst to think of the objects of statistics simultaneously as they really exist, as well as in their conventional character, a position in which the reality of the object is a methodological attitude: It seems to me that this is because it is found throughout its production circuit, in the conceptual, associative and procedural aspects.

Returning to the beginning of this article, we see this perspective as a result of the dual insertion of the statistical activity in the socio-political sphere - which underpins and adjusts the statistical program - and in the techno-scientific domain, which formalizes the stability of its language and references. The next section may help to clarify my take on this. The institutional organization of the statistical activity The cognitive duality that we have dealt with was already evident at the precise moment that the Bureau Statistique de la Republique was created in Paris in To know the departments and their municipalities was the imperative that befell the Bureau.

In light of the formation of the republican State, statistics had to represent the nation in electoral terms, and no longer reduce the country and demographics to 'mirrors for princes.

We can imagine that its directors, avant la lettre statisticians, sought to dedicate themselves to their activity, with almost everything still needing to be done, identifying and affirming themselves with it. Two radically opposed strategies emerged in this process, assumed by Peuchet, the director given the task of running the Bureau between andand Duvillard, who replaced him in While the former encouraged written descriptions that made narratives and memorizations easier, criticizing the reductionist nature of tabulations, the latter appreciated numeric precision and its laws, as represented in equations.

Duvillard thought that the information sent by the departments and municipalities would only be rigorous if their administrations preserved the registers, as a prototype of the codification procedures. They mutually disapproved of each other, one disqualifying the premise of the other: The controversy itself already served as a way of provoking cultivated minds, drawing attention to the importance and the need for statistics.

sociology and statistics relationship

By inviting a mere fraction of the intellectual elite to take part in the debate, choosing between argumentative strength and numeric precision, these men sought to highlight their function. However, maybe unwittingly, they fomented an area of discussion and analysis from which would emerge, years later, Adolphe Quetelet, among other notable academics.

The accusations that Peuchet and Duvillard exchanged in the Bureau's memorandums and reports are the first official record of the underlying tension in statistical activity. In defense of the descriptive and didactic tables, the adoption of a more accessible and literary language, as practiced by Peuchet, can be associated with the administrative role of statistical activity as an instrument for government.

Translating languages and communicating realities to members of government is an indispensable task in the formulation of public policies. One should not lose sight of the fact that the legitimacy of statistics lies in their official nature. In the microcosm of Peuchet's actions, we see the fight for visibility, always based on ex ante demand from the State in terms of the socio-political dimension of statistics. It deals with production, consumption and distribution of wealth. The economic factors play a vital role in the very aspect of our social life.

Total development of individual depends very much on economic factors. Without economic conditions, the study of society is quite impossible. All the social problems are directly connected with the economic conditions of the people.

That is why Marshall defines Economics as "on one side the study of wealth and on the other and more important side a part of the study of man. Without the social background the study of Economics is quite impossible.

Sociology Research Methods: Crash Course Sociology #4

Statistics and Economics have close relations. Relationship between the two is so close that one is often treated as the branch of the other, because statistics is greatly influenced by data and information. Economics would be dependent on those data. It deals with production, consumption and distribution of wealth, where production is directly related to statistics. Without economic conditions, the study of statistics is quite impossible.

Political science and economics are social sciences.