Skip to main content
From Commune to Household: Statistics and the Social Construction of Chaianov's Theory of Peasant Economy
Comparative Studies in Society and History
  • David W. Darrow, University of Dayton
Document Type
Publication Date
Categorization plays an integral part in how we see and interpret the world. This is especially true when we attempt to comprehend the complexities of human society, where the heterogeneity of human activity across time and space demands that some criterion (class, gender, age, profession, etc.) be used to reduce the number of variables examined. From the mid-nineteenth century—as statistics evolved from the simple “political arithmetic” of tax collectors and army recruiters into a potential science of human behavior—categorizing the population became a contentious issue that reflected the social and political agendas of data collectors. At the same time, when data refused to be molded to researchers’ assumptions, the task of putting people and their activities into analytical categories challenged the validity of the categories themselves. In this way, statistical representations and categories became socially constructed knowledge.
Inclusive pages
Document Version

The document available for download, provide here in compliance with publisher policies on self-archiving, is the author's accepted manuscript. Some differences may exist between this version and the final published version. As such, researchers wishing to quote directly from it are advised to consult with the version of record.

Permission documentation is on file.

Society for Comparative Study of Society and History
Peer Reviewed
Citation Information
David W. Darrow. "From Commune to Household: Statistics and the Social Construction of Chaianov's Theory of Peasant Economy" Comparative Studies in Society and History Vol. 43 Iss. 4 (2001)
Available at: