Statistikens dubbla potential: Frigörelse eller förtryck?
This essay concerns equality statistics as part of a population census. It is a kind of statistics that is not in action in Sweden because of data protection law for sensitive data (Personuppgiftslagen). This kind of an enlarged census is requested from international institutions like the UN and the EU as a tool to combat discrimination and to keep track of human rights. In Sweden there is a prohibition against collecting sensitive data regarding for instance sexuality, disability, transgender, ethnic background and national minority. The essay examines arguments from minority groups in Sweden, who participated in an enquiry done by the Equality Ombudsman on a government assignment 2011. The enquiry process was done during 2012 and resulted in the report Statistikens roll i arbetet mot diskriminering (The Role of Statistics in Combating Discrimination). The starting point of the essay is to look at equality statistics with a two folded potential: as liberating or oppressive for the counted. It could be a liberating tool as the gender categories, which serves as an example of that in the essay. It could also be a tool for oppression and to exemplify the essay use eugenics and the Swedish Race Biological Institute in the early 1900 th century. The arguments pro and con equality statistics are abstracted and sorted in 7 themes: Equality as principle, Participation, Visibility, Strengthening of characteristics and identity, Anonymity and Internal and external power hierarchies. Some of the pro arguments were about visibility and to be counted, while some of the con arguments refereed to historical events like the Holocaust and registration of minorities in order to limit their being in Sweden. From a science studies point of view the essay discuss different approaches for analyzing the thematic arguments. One classic approach is the popperian critical view of historicism; some of the arguments could be labelled historicist, and therefore invalid and irrelevant according to Karl Popper. Another approach is post colonial; the arguments comes from groups that are traditionally out defined from science and their knowledge could be seen as the knowledge from “the Other”. In the final section the arguments are related to two aspects of legitimacy. There is the aspect of the state legitimacy towards the citizens by trying to correct injustice and inequality. The other concerns recognition of minorities by including them in the population census, and by that strengthens their status as citizens in the national state. Also the essay tries to place equality statistics in a classical context of modernity and in the context of nation building.