District Space, Population, and Biopolitics
In this chapter, I argue that the power of district reports to combine knowledge of population, economic productivity, and subsistence with a general topography of the district formed a key technology in giving population a milieu. In this sense, the district report reworked human life from the eighteenth-century observational register and created a regionalized relationship between life and place. The chapter develops this argument in two sections. First, the chapter provided a discussion of how district reports produced population as an object, focusing on the development of the practice of the census of population as a technique stabilized by the register of the district report. In this I sketch the materiality of population as a category of administration. Second, after discussing the conditions of possibility for population to emerge as an object of administration, the chapter argues that the ability of chief factors, Simpson, and the London Council to read district reports as the conditions of particular environments supported a nascent form of biopolitics. I develop this point by analysing the company’s conservation strategies of the late 1820s and 1830s.