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How Our Days Became Numbered – Risk and the Rise of the Statistical Individual - Chicago Scholarship Online
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How Our Days Became Numbered: Risk and the Rise of the Statistical Individual

Dan Bouk


This book asks how the lives of individual Americans came to be understood through the statistical lens of risk between the Panic of 1873 and the Great Depression. It finds the answer in corporate capitalism and, more specifically, in life insurance corporations. These powerful institutions proved to be important, if seldom considered, sites for scientific and medical innovation, especially with regards to our understanding of the human life-span and its variations. This knowledge came in the course of the development of new tools for the quantification and commodification of individuals for t ... More

Keywords: risk, life insurance, capitalism, life-span, life extension, United States, statistics, quantification, racial discrimination

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2015 Print ISBN-13: 9780226259178
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2016 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226259208.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Dan Bouk, author