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Fixity and Whiteness in the Ethnicity Question of Irish Census 2006

By Marian Cadogan


Censuses do not simply collect data; they also simultaneously influence the identities they seek to capture. This paper highlights some of the inadvertent implications of the particular format of the ethnicity question introduced in the Irish Census of 2006. The white category is especially problematized. The paper suggests that the census consolidates rather than in any way destabilising the unquestioned centrality of whites as the dominant and normative identity group in Irish society. Arguing that identity may be understood as processual – relational and situational- an alternative approach to assessing ethnic identity, which does not assume static or essentialist categories, i

Topics: census, ethnicity, whiteness
Year: 2008
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