Years ago, perhaps as long as a decade ago, I recall reading an article about the British Empire’s control of the subcontinent.
Because the British could not actually control India, the article asserted, they collected statistical data about India instead. This statistical picture helped provide the illusion of mastery.
This has stuck in my head, and I use it all the time as a way of describing certain behaviors. But I’d like to point the article out to people, and I can’t find it.
My memory is that I would have encountered it sometime between 1998 and 2000, possibly in either Lingua Franca or the Atlantic, but I read widely enough that those may be little more than guesses.
Can anyone help me out with this? So far I’ve failed with Google, and with an online periodical search on the SPL’s web site.