The ethnicity of knowledge: statistics and Landeskunde in late eighteenth-century Hungary and Transylvania
Török, Borbála Zsuzsanna
This essay analyzes the adaptation of the discipline of descriptive statistics in the multiethnic lands of the Habsburg Monarchy and discusses how the former used ethnographic description to underscore the claims to social hegemony of German and Hungarian elites in Hungary and Transylvania. Focusing on the statistical account by Martin Schwartner, the Author demonstrates how the local application of the modern statistical methods of the University of Göttingen also imported the social conservatism of the leading German professors. The ethnic descriptions of Staatenkunde redefined the hierarchies of the estate-based society into new, ethno-cultural ones, creating thus the basis of modern regional ethno-cultural hierarchies. The study reflects on the ambiguous political ends of scholarly modernization and on the resistance to the impulse to regard ‘Westernization’ in the ‘provinces’ of Europe as a story of progress.
EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Borbála Zsuzsanna Török, "The ethnicity of knowledge: statistics and Landeskunde in late eighteenth-century Hungary and Transylvania", in Guido Abbattista (edited by), Encountering Otherness. Diversities and Transcultural Experiences in Early Modern European Culture, pp. 147-162.