Demographic Storytelling: The Importance of Being Narrative
- 345 Downloads
Anthropologist Gregory Bateson tells a story about a computer which, having been programmed to respond precisely as would a human, was asked by the programmer how it could be determined that its responses were actually those characteristic of a human. There was a pause and then a whirring of spindles before the computer finally responded with a print out which began, ‘That reminds me of a story….’ (Reck 1993).
Storytelling is not only what makes the computer human; it is also about the meaning of “social” in the social sciences. Narratives are critical to how we acquire data and how we produce knowledge from that data. They are an indispensable part of scientific, systematic research—whether we are quantitative or qualitative in our approach. The historiography of Jewish identity research will show that feminist and post-positivist critiques have encouraged a wide range of narratives among social scientists about methods of analyses aimed particularly at understanding identity from the...
KeywordsJewish Identity Jewish People Demographic Research Identity Narrative Italic Mine
- Berman, Lisa C. 2009. Speaking of Jews: Rabbis, intellectuals, and the creation of an American public identity. University of California Press.Google Scholar
- DellaPergola, Sergio. 2013. Bigger population estimate means wider definition of Jewishness. Forward. http://forward.com/articles/184983/bigger-population-estimate-means-wider-definition. 11 October 2013.
- Harding, Sandra. 2004. Rethinking standpoint epistemology: What is “strong objectivity”? In The Feminist standpoint theory reader, ed. S. Harding, 127–140. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Hartman, Harriet. 2014. Studies of Jewish identity and continuity in the United States: Competing, complementary, and comparative perspectives. In Studies in Contemporary Jewry, ed. Uzi Rebhun, vol. 27 (forthcoming).Google Scholar
- Hartman, Harriet, and Moshe Hartman. 2009. Gender and American Jews: Patterns in work, education, and family in contemporary life. Waltham: Brandeis University Press.Google Scholar
- Horowitz, Bethamie. 2013. And now for some good news about the Pew Survey. http://forward.com/articles/185542/and-now-for-some-good-news-about-the-pew-survey/?p=all#ixzz2mpVsUXH9). 18 October 2013.
- Kaufman, Debra. 2003. Post-holocaust memory: Some gendered reflections. In Re-placing ourselves: Gender, place, and memory in the modern Jewish experience, eds. J. Baumel, and T. Cohen, 187–196. London: Vallentine Mitchell Press.Google Scholar
- Kaufman, Debra. 2005. The place of Judaism in American Jewish identity. In Cambridge companion to American Judaism, ed. Dana Kaplan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Kelman, Ari. 2013. The Hegemony of Religion. http://www.stanford.edu/group/edjs/cgi-bin/wordpress/2013/10/04/the-hegemony-of-religion/. 4 October 2013.
- Kosmin, Barry. 2007. Contemporary secularity and secularism. In Secularism and secularity: Contemporary international perspectives, eds. B. Kosmin, and A. Keysar, 1–13. Hartford, CT: Trinity College: Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture.Google Scholar
- Kunkelman, Gary Allan. 1990. The religion of ethnicity: Belief and belonging in a Greek-American community. New York: Garland Publishing Company.Google Scholar
- Lenzer, Gertrud. 1983. August Comte and positivism: The essential writings. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Mayer, Egon. 2001. Secularism among America’s Jews, insights from the American Jewish identity survey. Presentation at the meeting of the Association for Jewish Studies, December, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
- Pew Research Center’s Religion and Public Life Project. 2013. A Portrait of Jewish Americans. Washington, DC: Pew Research Center’s Religion and Public Life Project.Google Scholar
- Reck, Gregory. 1993. Narrative and social science: Reclaiming the existential issues. Integrative Studies 11: 63–74.Google Scholar
- Smith, Dorothy. 2004. Women’s perspective as a radical critique of sociology. In Feminist standpoint theory reader, ed. S. Harding, 21–33. New York: Rutledge University Press.Google Scholar