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date: 20 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines the conception of population composition as an object of political struggle. It acknowledges that census holds a powerful sway over political analysts and explains that census becomes a political battleground not due to vitiation of what should be a technical exercise, but rather because of its fundamental role in representing groups. It identifies the agents of category construction in census and describes the three models of linking state-recognized identity categories to political power and evaluates their application to Soviet ethnogenesis. It suggests that the decision to categorize the composition of a population along cultural markers, and the formulation of these categories are political choices and that the affirmation of an identity by an individual on the census, within the repertoire offered, is a matter of choice.

Keywords: population composition, political struggle, census, population identity, Soviet ethnogenesis, political choices

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