Radical Statistics or 'Radstats'
The Radical Statistics Group, usually abbreviated to Radstats, was formed in 1975 as part of the radical science movement associated with the establishment of the British Society for Social Responsibility in Science (BSSRS).
The researchers and statisticians who started Radstats shared a common concern about the political implications of their work and an awareness of the actual and potential misuse of statistics. Sadly, neither the BSSRS nor other organizations affiliated to the BSSRS, survived the 18 years of Conservative rule from 1979 to 1997.
RadStats is now independent of any other organisation. Members are 'radical' in being committed to helping build a more free, democratic and egalitarian society. Members of Radstats are concerned at the extent to which official statistics reflect governmental rather than social purposes. Our particular concerns are:
- The mystifying use of technical language to disguise social problems as technical ones
- The lack of control by the community over the aims of statistical investigations, the way these are conducted and the use of the information produced
- The power structures within which statistical and research workers are employed and which control the work and how it is used
- The fragmentation of social problems into specialist fields, obscuring connectedness
Radstats members believe that statistics can be used as part of campaigns for progressive social change - just as they were used to support measures that led to improvements in public health in the 19'th century.
Radstats is not a professional or an academic organization. It has been said that working with Radstats is unlikely to help anyone build their career, although anecdotal evidence about our members might appear to contradict this! The administrative work is handled by a Troika elected at the AGM (this forms part of the Annual Conference).
The group recently published the 100th edition of the Radical Statistics journal.
More on Radical Statistics Group.