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By Véronique Petit

The center goal of this publication is to figure out how anthropology and demography can be utilized in conjunction within the box of inhabitants and improvement.

The limitations of demography usually are not as truly outlined or as sturdy as one may imagine, particularly in view of the strain among a proper demography established at the ‘core of tactics and references’ and a extra open type of demography, ordinarily known as inhabitants Studies.

Many rapprochements, ignored possibilities and remoted makes an attempt marked the disciplinary background of anthropology and demography, either disciplines being based on specific and hugely differentiated traditions and practices. furthermore, the function and where assigned to epistemology fluctuate considerably in ethnology and demography. but, anthropology and demography supply complementary versions and study tools and this publication indicates that neither self-discipline can find the money for to miss their respective contributions.

Based on examine carried out in West Africa over greater than 20 years, it's a safeguard of box demography that makes case for a continuum starting from the preliminary perception of fieldwork and learn to its powerful implementation and to facts research. adjustments in behaviors in terms of fertility, poverty or migration can't be interpreted with no invoking the cultural issue at a few level. Representations of their collective and person dimensions additionally healthy into the prolonged explanatory area of demography.

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Extra info for Counting Populations, Understanding Societies: Towards a Interpretative Demography

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The human being is the indivisible entity that represents the essence of phenomena, and once we have said that a being is born, lives for a certain amount of time in the course of which it procreates, moves, and finally dies, we have defined most of the central concerns of demographers. Everything in demography ultimately boils down to these fundamental events’ (Bourgeois-Pichat 1970). The fact that Achille Guillard (1799–1876) spoke of ‘natural history’ suggests that he was a man of his times who merely reflected the prevailing intellectual context and that he was the heir of Condorcet2 (1743–1794) and Buffon3 (1707–1788).

Institutional facts (norms) and their influence on behaviours and beliefs’ 4. ‘Structural facts and their influence on individual beliefs and behaviours or on other structural facts’ 5. ‘Aggregate data and their relations with other aggregate data’ 6. ‘Functional imperatives of groups or societies and the influence of these imperatives on the selection of certain institutions’ 7. ) Examples: distribution by gender and age; fertility rate of women aged 15–49 by age group Measurement of fertility based on age group and the type of union, educational level or occupational category Consideration of the beliefs (religion) informing the choices of individuals in terms of fertility (number of children, use of contraception) Understanding morbidity and mortality rates in the light of representations of illness, sexuality and death Impact of migration policies on migration flows (size and sociological composition), effect on migration strategies (individual, family, communities) Measurement of sex ratio in a population affected by international emigration Demography studies population dynamics (stationarity, growth, depopulation) and aims to highlight the sociocultural processes of birth control and population policies implemented by societies in order to control the dynamics of their population Demography studies the power relations between individuals within couples, families and communities; the analysis of the processes subtending the constitution of unions; the decisions concerning procreation or mobility and the interactions between different sociological levels In short, for non-demographers, the inclusion of demography in the social sciences raises the question of marginality and centrality (Dogan and Pahre), the consideration of social structures and facts (Ogien), the capacity for autonomisation 26 3 The Contours of a Social Science (Passeron) and the porosity (Berthelot, Desjeux, Fabiani).

It is worth noting that the use of the adjective ‘pure’ describing demography implies that the discipline was originally perfect and that the mere fact of opening it up would only serve to sully it and to strip it of its ideal status. The implication is that only measurement is perfect in essence, whereas explanation, since it extends beyond the strict field of demography, is by its very nature imperfect because of its complexity. Yet Chesnais argued that it is important to go beyond measurement.

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