Demographication of subject: a critical view of Turkey’s demographic survey history with Foucaultian approach

Erhan Ozdemir, Hacettepe University

The purpose of this study is to investigate the evolution of demographic data collection in Turkey with a critical perspective which is Foucault's notion of governmentality. The study aims to present how methods used in demographic surveys have changed from gathering macro-level population information to collect micro-level and even individual level demographic information in Turkey since 1960’s. Evolution in methodologies, contents and target groups of demographic surveys in Turkey are connected with changes in the structure of nation-state, the relations among the political power and citizens as well as national and regional responses of the country to global political and social developments. In addition to this, the frequency of use and the new fields of the use of collected demographic data not by only governmental institutions, but also by other political agents like national or regional NGOs and supranational institutional bodies like EU and UN are examined. Furthermore, the alternative sources in financial and political supports to collect new type of demographic information in Turkey are also subjected in the study. Finally, the empirical presentation of changes in methodology and fields of demographic surveys in Turkey is evaluated with Foucault’s notion of governmentality, which seeks for the genealogy of modern nation-state. The theoretical arguments in this theoretical conclusion also attempt to adapt conditions of current political structure of Turkey within new global political system and the increasing importance of knowledge of population in contemporary world. This paper has the intention to develop an alternative insight on the dynamics and motivations of demographic studies, which are useful tools for political agents in developing counties to identify socio-political discourses benefiting for their political power.

Presented in Poster Session 3