Review Essay: Comparing Demographic and Sociological Imaginations

  • David Pearson VUW
Keywords: Aotearoa New Zealand, USA, Demography, Sociology, Social Aspects of Population


Paul Spoonley’s wide-ranging survey of what he sees as new local population challenges is described and assessed. This is followed by an examination of Richard Alba’s critical analysis of how the misuse of demographic statistics influenced recent American political upheavals and distorts an understanding of ethno-relations in the United States. Whether his theory of new non-zero assimilation can be applied to New Zealand is then tentatively explored. Finally, some reflections on the relationship between demography and sociology and the enduring dangers of categoricalism are presented.


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Kukutai, T.H. and Broman, P. (2016). From colonial categories to local culture: Evolving state practices of ethnic enumeration in Oceania, 1965–2014, Ethnicities, 16 (5), 689-711.

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Pearson, D. (2019). National ties entwined: Civic and ethnic elements in New Zealand identity, in J.P. Trautsch, (ed.) Civic Nationalism in Global Perspective, Routledge, London, 129-152.

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Valdez, Z. and Golash-Boza,T. (2017). U.S. racial and ethnic relations in the twenty-first century, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 40 (13), 2181-2209.

How to Cite
Pearson, D. (2021). Review Essay: Comparing Demographic and Sociological Imaginations. Aotearoa New Zealand Journal of Social Issues, 1.