Data in Society: Challenging statistics in an age of globalisation, Editors Jeff Evans, Sally Ruane, and Humphrey Southall; Policy Press, 2019. It is 20 years since the publication of the last Radical Statistics collection, Statistics in Society (1999), and even longer since Demystifying Social Statistics (1979). This third collection of chapters produced under the auspices of Radical Statistics has been handed over to be published by Policy Press in August 2019.The use of both ‘statistics’ and ‘data’ in the title is to capture the tension between two views of the materials, the methods and the professional and disciplinary basis of our work: the statistical data, statistical analysis,and the statistics and allied professions / disciplines, on the one hand; and ‘data’ (sometimes ‘big’), data analytics, and data scientists, on the other. The aims of the book include: to explore ongoing developments in the uses of data and the role of statistics in contemporary society, including the increasing diversity of data producers beyond the state, to include private corporations, especially those based on social media and new technologies; to raise levels of critical understanding in terms of the role and significance of statistical data and statistical claims to invite a wider public of non-specialist readers, including third sector, professional and service user groups, to consider how statistics are used in social discourse and debate, to advance interests and to achieve particular, often political, ends. The audience for the book will include: Teachers, researchers and students in applied statistics, and in research methods for a range of social science, economics, geography, health and business areas, at intermediate or final yearundergraduate level, or postgraduate level; Those training in areas such as social work, youth and community work, teaching and nursing; Practitioners in the above fields, plus community activists and other campaigners using statistics as a campaigning tool and wanting to critically understand their use by others; and, of course, Members and allies of the Radical Statistics Group.
Most higher education and training courses for the groups above includean introduction to the use of statistics. The introduction of Q Step programmes to enhance the level of teaching of quantitative methods to social science undergraduates in UK Universities has led to an increased emphasis on quantitative material across the whole range of social sciences and related fields, in undergraduate and taught post-graduate programmes. A number of the chapters here include clear signposts to the date used in their analyses.Throughout its gestation, the book has benefitted from the support of Radical Statistics and its members. Early planning meetings and travel to face-to-face Editors’ meetings were supported by the Radical Statistics Troika. Throughout, appeals to members, allies, and the mailing list have elicited valuable help, including reviewing of chapters. We thank everyone who has supported the book’s development, and look forward to your participation in the arguments that we hope will be stimulated by the book.
The contents of the book are as follows. Foreword by Danny Dorling Preface by the Editors Introduction by Humphrey Southall, Jeff Evans and Sally Ruane Section 1: How Data are Changing Section Introduction: Humphrey Southall and Jeff Evans Statistical work: the changing occupational landscape by Kevin McConway Administrative data: The creation of Big Data by Harvey Goldstein and Ruth Gilbert What’s new about Data Analytics? by Ifan Shepherd and Gary Hearne Social media data by Adrian Tear and Humphrey Southall Section 2: Counting in a Globalised WorldSection Introduction: Sally Ruane and Jeff Evanso Adult Skills Surveys and Transnational Organisations: Globalising Educational Policy by Jeff Evans
Interpreting survey data: Towards valid estimates of poverty in the South by Roy Carr-Hill Counting the Population in Need of International Protection Globally by Brad Blitz, Alessio D’Angelo and Eleonore Kofman Tax justice and the challenges of measuring illicit financial flows by Richard Murphy Section 3: Statistics and the Changing Role of the State Section Introduction: Sally Ruane and Humphrey Southall The control and ‘fitness for purpose’ of UK Official Statistics by David Rhind The statistics of devolution by David Byrne The uneven impact of welfare reform by Tina Beatty and Steve Fothergill ‘From ‘Welfare’ to ‘Workfare’ – and Back Again? Social Insecurity and the Changing Role of the State’ by Christopher Deeming and Ron Johnston Access to data and NHS privatisation: reducing public accountability by Sally Ruane Section 4: Economic Life Section Introduction: Humphrey Southall and Jeff Evans The ‘distribution question’: Measuring and evaluating trends in inequality by Stewart Lansley Changes in working life by Paul Bivand The Financial System by Rebecca Boden The difficulty of building comprehensive tax avoidance data by Prem Sikka Tax and spend decisions: did austerity improve financial numeracy and literacy? by David Walker Section 5: Inequalities in Health and Well-beingSection Editors: Sally Ruane and Humphrey Southall Health divides by Anonymous Measuring social well-being by Roy Carr-Hill Re-engineering health policy research to measure equity impacts by Tim Doran and Richard Cookson The Generation Game: Ending the phoney information war between young and old by Jay Ginn and Neil Duncan-Jordan Section 6 : Advancing social progress through critical statistical literacy Section Editors: Jeff Evans, Sally Ruane, and Humphrey Southall The Radical Statistics Group: Using Statistics for Progressive Social Change by Jeff Evans and Ludi Simpson Lyme disease politics and evidence-based policy-making in the UK by Kate Bloor Counting the uncounted: contestations over casualisation data in Australian universities by Nour Dados, James Goodman and Keiko Yasukawa The Quantitative Crisis in UK Sociology by Malcolm Williams, Luke Sloan and Charlotte Brookfield Critical Statistical Literacy and Interactive Data Visualisations by Jim Ridgway, James Nicholson, Sinclair Sutherland and Spencer Hedger Full fact by Amy Sippitt What a difference a dataset makes? Data journalism and/as data activism by Jonathan Gray and Liliana Bounegru Epilogue by Jeff Evans, Humphrey Southall and Sally Ruane