Identity Politics or Social Inclusion? Policy Dilemmas on Ethnic Counting in Hungary
Ethnic and Racial Studies
Despite increasing demand from policymakers and academics alike, effective policies on ethnic data collection for social inclusion purposes are still absent in most of Europe. This paper proposes to explain the failure to produce these policies by the coexistence of and tensions among contradictory frames on ethnic counting. An in-depth analysis of Hungarian policies reveals that three mutually inconsistent policy frames connect ethnic counting to ethnic diversity in many different ways. These frames are group self-determination, individual rights, and social inclusion. This paper illustrates the tensions among the three through a discussion of two core but divisive aspects of collecting ethnic statistics: defining ethnic classifications for counting and defining membership in ethnic groups for policy purposes. Tensions among the three result in inconsistent and inefficient policies of ethnic counting.