Academic journal article Canadian Social Science

Global Crisis in Fertility Theory: What Went Wrong?/CRISE MONDIALE DANS LA THÉORIE DE FÉCONDITÉ: CE QUI NE VA PAS?

Academic journal article Canadian Social Science

Global Crisis in Fertility Theory: What Went Wrong?/CRISE MONDIALE DANS LA THÉORIE DE FÉCONDITÉ: CE QUI NE VA PAS?

Article excerpt


Fertility, as a component of population change, caught the attention of many demographers since the relationship between population and society has been established. Even though micro level theories successfully projected trends of fertility at local level but finding a global theory is still a way to go. Macro theories failed to overcome social, cultural, and political boundaries. The solution can go either way. Demographers can all together give up on looking a grand theory. Or they can go for the regional theories because not all economic, social, or cultural mechanism operates equally to lower down fertility. The present paper is an attempt to question the validity of unified theory of fertility, thereby, an attempt to look for a modified version of fertility theory which would be better fit at the regional level.

Key words: Fertility, theories of fertility, regional theory, unified theory, validity of fertility theory

Résumé: La fécondité, comme une composante de l'évolution démographique, a attiré l'attention de nombreux démographes depuis que la relation entre la population et la société a été établie. Même si la théorie micro-niveau a projeté à succès les tendances de la fécondité au niveau local mais il y a encore un longue chemin à parcourir à trouver une théorie globale. Macro théorie a échoué à surmonter les bornes sociales, culturelles et politiques. La solution peut aller à l'une ou l'autre route. Les démographes peuvent donner tous ensemble sur la recherche d'une grande théorie. Ou ils peuvent aller pour la théorie régionale parce que ce n'est pas tous le mécanisme économique, social, culturel fonctionne également à diminuer la fécondité. Le présent document est une tentative de remettre en question la validité de la théorie unifiée de la fécondité, de ce fait, une tentative de chercher une version modifiée de la théorie de féconditéqui serait mieux adaptés au niveau régional.

Mots-Clés: Fécondité, théorie de fécondité, théorie régional, théorie unifiée, validité de la théorie de fécondité


Fertility receives phenomenonal attention from demographers not so long ago. Historically, as a component of population change, mortality gets the hype among the demographers. Reason is simple, people want to live first. If you live, you want to think about reproduction (Wunsch, 1995). Social policies, geared toward improving mortality condition, have no doubt a huge contribution to induce demographers to analyze other components of population change. In the very next phase, fertility was the buzzword. Groups of demographers spent sleepless night to explore causes related to high fertility. Sometimes they were concerned with high fertility and sometimes they were concerned with low fertility. Moot point is that fertility in either direction is a problem. This also becomes the starting point for explaining fertility from different perspectives. Some demographers unanimously view that this is also caused a perplexing situation, more specifically, stagnant condition from where demographers failed to traverse unplanned paths of fertility in some countries.

Through out the early Greek and Roman periods, a number of theories have been proposed to explain desired population size and population distribution. Mercantilists accorded the strength of the state as in its population size and the predominance of the industry over the agriculture. Physiocrats strongly believed population as stimulating factor for agricultural production, and hence, the economy. However, Mathus's theory on population was the direct hit to Mercantilists and Physiocrats (Daugherty and Kammeyer, 1995). The tension between food and population was not new but was never thought in the direction to social problems. To mitigate the problem, delayed marriage has been advised to lower fertility. Officially, this was the first theory ever which conceptualized fertility to figure out complex web of the relationship between fertility and society (Nam and Philliber, 1984). …

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