[URBANTH-L]CFP: Social Statistics and Ethnic Diversity:

Angela Jancius jancius at ohio.edu
Mon Feb 12 18:07:32 EST 2007

From: Nancy Foner <nfoner at spec.net>

Social Statistics and Ethnic Diversity: Should we Count, How Should we 
Count, and Why?
Montreal, December 6-8, 2007

International conference organized jointly by the
Quebec Inter-University Centre for Social Statistics (QICSS, Montréal) and 
Institut national d'études démographiques (INED, Paris)

Call for Papers

During the second half of the 20th century, important international 
migration flows have greatly contributed to the
appearance of pluralist societies, and a large number of ethnic groups have 
emerged mainly as a result of
immigration. In the context of globalization, and a slow-down of population 
growth in many countries, immigration
and ethnic diversity represent major challenges at the dawn of the 21st 

Among the new challenges confronting national governments, international 
organisations and civil society alike in
the face of this growing ethnic diversity, is a rising political and social 
demand for evidence-based policies. This
raises the question of collecting data on ethnic groups in order to estimate 
their number, describe their
characteristics and identify factors of social and economic integration. In 
particular, measuring the extent and
nature of the diverse forms of discrimination is essential to the 
formulation, monitoring and evaluation of antidiscrimination
policies, be they national, regional or global.

Social statistics have always been at the core of political and social 
debates. In Canada, the rising demand for
data on diverse social dimensions including ethnicity has justified the use 
of substantial public funds for the
collection of such data, through censuses or large-scale social surveys. In 
Europe and in many other parts of the
world, the situation is more complex; although the demand for ethnic data is 
growing, there is no consensus about
the relevance of producing official ethnic statistics.

There is a good deal of international variation in the way in which 
discrimination based on national or ethnic origin
is viewed. In Canada, survey or census questions on ethnic origins are 
explicitly justified on the grounds that
Charters, legislation and equal opportunity programmes need to be closely 
monitored. This is not the case in
many other countries. Apart from a few countries like England which are 
similar to Canada, most European
nations (e.g. France) are opposed to including ethnic questions in official 
statistics. The adoption of antidiscrimination
policies by the European Union, however, means that there is now strong 
pressure to produce
ethnic statistics.

The main objective of the International conference on Social Statistics and 
Ethnic Diversity: Should we count,
how should we count and why? is to establish links between the production, 
analysis, uses and interpretation of
social statistics related to ethnic diversity. More specifically, the 
Conference aims to address the following

- Should we count? This is essentially an ethical issue. Does distinguishing 
and characterizing
populations according to their ethnic origins constitute a risk of 
stigmatization or is it, on the contrary,
an asset for measuring and explaining discrimination and for demanding more 
inclusive policies?

- How to count? Here, the focus is on methodological considerations. There 
are many ways to
measure ethnic origin and discrimination: what are the best and most common 
practices in this area,
taking into account the historical, socio-economic and political 
specificities of each society?

- Who is and who is not counted? This question is an extension of the 
preceding one and aims at
identifying biases and limitations in official statistics. Who is not 
counted is very revealing of the
political criteria underlying methodological choices.

- Why count? What are the characteristics of legal, social and economic 
integration and nonintegration
(discrimination)? Is it possible (desirable?) to develop internationally 
indicators of integration? What rights should be granted to the different 
categories of migrants
(permanent, temporary, refugees, irregular, etc.)? All questions that 
require innovative data sources
(e.g. administrative data and longitudinal surveys) whose future orientation 
needs careful

The Conference aims to encourage international exchanges in order to 
document the diversity of situations,

- the experience of countries of immigration (Canada, the United States, 
Australia, etc.)
- the European experience
- the experience of countries of the South (Africa, Latin America, Asia, 
The Conference also aims to generate debate between the many different 
actors involved:
- organizations that produce statistics
- researchers
- users (including civil society, in particular NGOs involved in 
anti-discrimination activities).

Submissions of Proposals

This conference aspires to bring together decision makers, policy analysts, 
community workers, and scholars
(including students). Persons interested in submitting a paper proposal 
should send a one-page abstract (around
500 words) by May 1st, 2007 simultaneously to the three following addresses: 
a.gagnon at umontreal.ca;
victor at acpd.ca; simon at ined.fr . Presentations can be made in French or 
English. Authors will be notified of
acceptance by June 1st, 2007.

Students whose papers are accepted may be eligible for some financial 
support. For more information, contact Amélie Gagnon (coordinator) at 
a.gagnon at umontreal.ca or consult the QICSS (www.ciqss.umontreal.ca) or INED 
(www.ined.fr) websites. 

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