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Administrative policy as symbol system: Political conflict and the social construction of identityStandards for Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity, formerly known as Statistical Policy Directive 15, is a classification system that governs the U.S. government's collection and presentation of data on race and ethnicity. The directive underwent a public evaluation between 1993 and 1997 to determine whether the racial and ethnic group categories should be revised. This article links theories of the role of the state in the social order and the social construction of identity to explain how conflictual political processes modify administrative policy. Two narratives on the debates over the reclassification of "Native Hawaiians" and the addition of a "multiracial" category illustrate recent political conflicts over group identities established by state agencies. The author argues that the main explanation for administrative policy changes was the responsiveness of state agencies to political demands of significantly mobilized groups with claims to state resources.