The attack on the PCBS is, of course, part of a more widespread and
destructive struggle to prevent the emergence of anything resembling a
Palestinian state - we should be concerned, as sociologists, with the way
this constitutes a distinctive part of that struggle: an assault on
knowledge - an attack on the information required both to understand how
things are and to plan for how things might be. Colleagues might be
interested in the article by Edward Said in a recent issue of the London
Review of Books (which mentions in passing the attack on the PCBS) and my
letter in the subsequent (most recent) issue which focuses on the PCBS'.
They m,ight also be interested in the nmost recent issue of the Bulletin of
Middle Eastern Studies (produced at SOAS), which includes an article by
Elias Zureik, professor of sociology at Queens University , Ontario, on
'Constructing Palestine through Surveillance Practices', which develops in
some detail a sociological (Foucauldian) analysis of the control of data
among other things. In the old days they burned books as well as 'heretics'
to destroy 'heresies' - that failed.
Professor of Sociology & Politics
School of Development Studies
University of East Anglia
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Based upon the newsletter of the European Sociological Association
> (ESA). [mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of Ray
> Sent: 01 February 2002 20:52
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: raid on Palestine Bureau of Statistics
> > Can anyone tell me why an attack on a stats office deserves
> > special attention
> > from sociologists as a group? Is it to be implied that the
> > other deaths that
> > have occured on both sides are not worthy of our consideration?
> The crucial point is that statistics offices are a
> vital component of stable societies. Statistics support stable and
> peaceful societies, and only stable and peaceful societies can produce
> reliable statistics. An attack on a statistical office is an undermining
> of the institutional structure that are part of stable societies.
> It is ironic that Ariel Sharon has claimed that Israel is taking action
> terrorism. The attack on a statistical office is likely to contribute to
> the creation of anarchy that will breed terrorism.
> Ray Thomas, Social Sciences, Open University
> Tel: 44 1908 679081 Fax 44 1908 550401
> Email: [log in to unmask]
> 35 Passmore, Milton Keynes MK6 3DY