The Political Economy of Fertility in the British West Indies 1891-1921

By D. A. V. Brown | Go to book overview

Chapter Five

Conclusion

This study has as its central focus the nature of the relationship between the demographic and socioeconomic realms of social existence. In seeking to elucidate this relationship, it brings to bear a particular appreciation of the nature of social theory to the study of demographic phenomena. The theory that accounts for social phenomena cannot be divorced from the character of the setting in which it emerges. It has been argued that demography, as a discipline, is reflective of the narrow empiricism of the British intellectual tradition with its tendency to presume the insignificance of the social matrix within which the subject of its study exists. This proclivity finds expression and support in the structure of its academic institutions. The rigid unidisciplinarianism that is one manifestation of this tradition is rejected by this study. Instead, a position that recognizes the need for demographic analysis to be integrated into the wider body of the social sciences as a prerequisite for the understanding of demographic phenomena is adopted.

In an attempt to foster an understanding of sociodemographic linkages, the themes, perspectives and substantive findings of a number of disciplines were brought to bear on the problem of the relationship of fertility patterns to the structural variation evinced by the two territories selected for study. Empirical data from Grenada and Trinidad were analysed in trying to come to some understanding of the relationship between fertility, the world economy and aspects of the local political economy.

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