Statistician Subjects: Differentiating and Defending

Francisca Grommé, Baki Cakici, and Ville Takala

Goldsmiths Press, 2021.

Who are the professional subjects of data practices? How are their skills, capacities, mindsets, and ethical positions shaped in relation to data practices? While the previous chapter explored how data practices subjectify people and how they are categorised, here we turn to consider how the statistician subject is being shaped, and the profession of national statistician repositioned, through what we refer to as ‘professionalising practices’. The chapter develops this understanding by returning to technological changes described in the Preface: how digital technologies such as the internet, mobile devices, and big data are both challenging traditional methods of producing official statistics while at the same time offering possibilities to innovate the production of statistical knowledge about populations. We consider how data scientists are leading the development of such methods, especially those that involve big data.

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