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ERIC Number: EJ799594
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Apr
Pages: 30
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1071-4413
Official Statistics as Curriculum: Biopolitics and the United States "Census in Schools" Program
Berdayes, Vicente
Review of Education, Pedagogy & Cultural Studies, v30 n2 p85-114 Apr 2008
One way that people learn to recognize themselves as members of a nation-state is by participating in the ritual of a national census. In the United States acquaintance with such enumerations is cultivated during childhood by the federal government's "Census in Schools" (CIS) program, which distributes a variety of educational materials designed to teach students basic concepts and practices of demography. Learning about such concepts as population counts and demographic trends familiarizes children with the idea that nation and state cohere as a set of social and economic relationships that persist over time. The most noteworthy feature of the CIS teaching packets, says the author, is the way they encourage students to internalize the instrumental presuppositions that sustain the nation-state as a spatial and temporal entity, filtering students' experience of the world through administrative categories of time and space. Moreover, CIS exemplifies the ways in which various forms of "official knowledge" are worked into the curriculum primed to serve a hegemonic function. Such curricula are ideological in that they present themselves as politically neutral while presenting a partial, skewed version of the world that does not challenge dominant interests. The author offers suggestions for using CIS materials for critical instruction and emancipatory educational purposes. (Contains 5 figures and 60 notes.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States