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Author: Andrea Bréard


This chapter analyzes late imperial understandings of objects and methods of statistics not only in their relation to the later development of modern statistics, but also by taking into account the coexistence of traditional modalities and imported institutions and practices at the end of the Qing. It uses administrative, methodological and mathematical statistics as a taxonomy to account for the debates about institutional models, social and mathematical theories, and the actual statistical work up to the early years of the People’s Republic. This allows to understand state-society relations for governance by the numbers, the issues of what statistical techniques are most relevant, and the ways actors negotiated between ways different methods were theorized and put into practice. In addition, the reader encounters the convoluted intellectual and institutional trajectories of three representative statistical actors from the first half of 20th century China.

In: The Making of the Human Sciences in China
In: New Terms for New Ideas
In: The Other Yijing