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Statistical Science, Cartography, and the Visualization of the German Nation, 1848-1914
Author: Jason D. Hansen
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Mapping the Germans explores the development of statistical science and cartography in Germany between the beginning of the nineteenth century and the start of World War One, examining their impact on the German national identity. It asks how spatially-specific knowledge about the nation was constructed, showing the contested and difficult nature of objectifying this frustratingly elastic concept. Ideology and politics were not themselves capable of providing satisfactory answers to questions about the geography and membership of the nation; rather, technology also played a key role in this process, helping to produce the scientific authority needed to make the resulting maps and statistics realistic. In this sense, Mapping the Germans is about how the abstract idea of the nation was transformed into a something that seemed objectively measurable and politically manageable. Jason Hansen also examines the birth of radical nationalism in central Europe, advancing the novel argument that it was changes to the vision of nationality rather than economic anxieties or ideological shifts that radicalized nationalist practice at the close of the nineteenth century. Numbers and maps enabled activists to "see" nationality in local and spatially-specific ways, enabling them to make strategic decisions about where to best direct their resources. In essence, they transformed nationality into something that was actionable, that ordinary people could take real actions to influence.
Military Statistics and Demography in Europe before the First World War
Author: Heinrich Hartmann
Publisher: MIT Press
Category: Social Science
How data gathered from national conscriptions in pre–World War I Europe influenced understandings of population fitness and redefined society as a collective body. In pre–World War I Europe, individual fitness was increasingly related to building and preserving collective society. Army recruitment offered the most important opportunity to screen male citizens' fitness, raising questions of how to define fitness for soldiers and how to translate this criteria outside the military context. In this book, Heinrich Hartmann explores the historical circumstances that shaped collective understandings of fitness in Europe before World War I and how these were intertwined with a fear of demographic decline and degeneration. This dynamic gained momentum through the circulation of knowledge among European nations, but also through the scenarios of military confrontations. Hartmann provides a science history of military statistics in Germany, France, and Switzerland in the decades preceding World War I, considering how information gathered during national conscriptions generated data about the health and fitness of the population. Defined by masculine concepts, conscription examinations went far beyond the individuals they tested and measured. Scholars of the time aspired to pin down the “nation” in concrete numerical terms, drawing on data from examinations to redefine society as a “collective body” that could be counted, measured, and examined. The Body Populace explores the historical specificity and contingency of data-gathering techniques, recounts their uses and abuses, and provides a timely contribution to the growing historiography of Big Data. It sheds light on a crucial moment in nineteenth and early twentieth century European history—when statistical data and demographical knowledge shaped new notions of masculinity, fostered fears of degeneration, and gave rise to eugenic thinking.
This book provides an up-to-date summary of the consequences of demographic aging for labor markets, financial markets, economic growth, social security schemes and public finances in Germany, essentially reflecting the present state of knowledge in any of these areas. All contributions are written by leading experts in their fields and are based on results that emerge at the forefront of current research.