On-line version ISSN 1851-3123
This article seeks to contribute to the study of the problem of the differentiation and reification of "State" and "society"-as dissociated spheres- by looking at historical, political, and daily processes that erase, at the same time than produce, this differentiation. To that end, the article draws into ethnographic situations in order to identify how census counting became routine procedures that created links between dwellers organized collectively and governmental officers in the Greater Buenos Aires area. The deployment of State-related census language is learnt in the enforcement of state policies, set in motion through collective actions, and elaborated by diverse social actors-which include political and union militants and activists, Catholic priests, members of the Rank-and-File Ecclesiastical Communities, and professional experts (such as social workers, medical doctors, psychologists, and teachers) In contexts of variable "force relations," the censuses become technical evidence to support collective demands, to open up spaces for negotiation, and to accommodate the population to State programs. The empirical material for this article is drawn from long-term fieldwork conducted in La Matanza and San Fernando, geared to study the constitution of political spaces around unemployment and social housing.
Keywords : Censuses; Collective demands; State; Housing; Unemployment.