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Prime Matter

Aydasara Ortega Torres is a Faculty Member of Psychology at College of Mount Saint Vincent.


What if we engage with statistics through a historical approach?

What if?

We can begin by assuming statistics origins are remote, as the count of human beings and resources is considered its prime matter.

Prime matter. Prime.




When sequential tables began to be published 'en masse' in the XIX century - making statistics a matter of public domain - and deviations from moral norms began to be documented in 1821, a qualitative change happened with the discipline.

While constants in crime suggested a central problem: when each year approximately a similar number of crimes of the same type were perpetrated by individuals with compatible characteristics, what remained of free will?

What remains of free will, if an act that apparently requires freedom is determined by circumstances, manifested in consistent ways and in predictable patterns?

Predictable patterns. Predictable.




What was significant about such findings laid not merely in the data itself, but in the
normative form in which the data was researched, collected, analyzed …

What remains significant is - of course - what has been seen and ignored, but even more so the information sought.

"Across the world, the most marginalized groups of society are overrepresented in prisons and institutions of the criminal justice system. Besides racial and ethnic minorities, prisons worldwide disproportionately house individuals who count among the least educated, most unemployed and poorest groups of society. However, it is one of the paradoxes of penality that whilst it is obvious that criminal justice systems across the world target disadvantaged populations, the link between imprisonment and socio-economic inequality has been mostly elusive on a global and cross-national scale."

Primed matter. Primed.

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© 2021 Aydasara Ortega Torres

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