Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
How Our Days Became NumberedRisk and the Rise of the Statistical Individual$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Dan Bouk

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226259178

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226259208.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2017. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use (for details see http://www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 14 December 2017

Classing

Classing

Chapter:
(p.1) One Classing
Source:
How Our Days Became Numbered
Author(s):

Dan Bouk

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226259208.003.0001

This chapter explores the tension that existed in the late nineteenth century between life insurers’ efforts to class individuals into groups and their urge to smooth or average away individual difference. It focuses on the story of Thomas Scott Lambert and his company, American Popular Life, which emphasized the importance of medical classing over actuarial smoothing. The chapter explains Lambert’s business model, built around a medical analog to phrenology that he called biometry, and details the company’s collapse during the Panic of 1873 alongside many of its more conventional peers. It also considers how companies that survived the panic, including Mutual Life of New York and Metropolitan, decided to expand the reach of their companies and thus commodified and quantified many more Americans’ lives. Lambert’s trial for perjury frames the story.

Keywords:   Thomas Scott Lambert, American popular life, classing, smoothing, biometry, Mutual Life of New York, metropolitan, Panic of 1873, medical, actuarial

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.