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The Global Spread of Fertility Decline

The Global Spread of Fertility Decline: Population, Fear, and Uncertainty

Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 344
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  • Book Info
    The Global Spread of Fertility Decline
    Book Description:

    The world's population has grown by five billion people over the past century, an astounding 300 percent increase. Yet it is actually the decline in family size and population growth that is the issue attracting greatest concern in many countries. This eye-opening book looks at demographic trends in Europe, North America, and Asia-areas that now have low fertility rates-and argues that there is an essential yet often neglectedpoliticaldimension to a full assessment of these trends. Political decisions that promote or discourage marriage and childbearing, facilitate or discourage contraception and abortion, and stimulate or restrain immigration all have played significant roles in recent trends.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-19532-3
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Jay Winter and Michael Teitelbaum
  4. ONE Globalization and Demography
    (pp. 1-39)

    Over the past decades, there has been an ocean of ink spilled about the process that has come to be known as “globalization.” While the term itself rose to high public and academic visibility during this period, some have argued that the process that it denotes goes back centuries, even millennia.

    Globalization has become a highly contentious subject, with the word itself carrying diverse meanings that are deployed as cudgels by proponents and opponents alike. It is now common to see one or another position characterized as “pro-globalization” or “anti-globalization,” and in some cases activists describe themselves as such.


  5. TWO European Population: Interpretations and Anxieties
    (pp. 40-73)

    We have already noted briefly what the German sociologist Ulrich Beck has termed the “risk society.” Beck has pioneered an approach to the “risk society” as a way to go beyond outmoded ideas about social development in advanced industrial countries. Beck rejects both the Marxist model that capitalism is doomed to collapse and ideas associated with Max Weber about the onward relentless advance of the “iron cage” of the bureaucratic state and technology-driven production. In their place, Beck proposes a different, more open-ended set of ideas about the setting in which fertility decline to unprecedented low levels has occurred. What...

  6. THREE Islam in Europe
    (pp. 74-109)

    One of the most controversial elements in contemporary European politics concerns the place of Muslims within European society and the effect of Muslim immigration on the future of Europe. Much of this debate revolves around the concept of Islamophobia. On 20 January 2011, Baroness Warsi, the cochair of the Conservative Party in Britain, attacked prejudice against Muslims as what she termed “Islamophobia.”¹ This speech was reported throughout the popular press. Clearly the term Islamophobia is in common usage, but it has been deployed in a host of ways.

    The term may be a useful one, but only when carefully defined....

  7. FOUR The China Trajectory
    (pp. 110-138)

    The political dimension of the modern demographic history of China is one of its essential characteristics. Modernization theory has little purchase here, since it focused on a model derived from the western European transformation of rural, agrarian societies to urban, manufacturing ones. Chinese demographic history is not simply an echo of Western patterns. Fertility decline in China happened in both the cities and in the countryside, and with the state as its guiding force.

    Herepoliticsmeans not only national policy formulation and direction but the response of thousands of village societies and millions of individuals and couples to directives...

  8. FIVE Population and Politics in India
    (pp. 139-168)

    Many of the classic studies of modernization and population dynamics have taken India as their field of study. Such research has enriched our understanding of many facets of demography and development, and yet there has been a consistent tendency toward overly narrow thinking in many of these works—especially the assumption that demographic change is overwhelmingly determined by economic factors. While economic factors are indeed important, we offer an alternative perspective, that greater attention should be paid to political developments to account for the way in which fertility decline has become a global phenomenon. In the important case of India,...

  9. SIX Japan: Family Structure, Abortion, and Fertility since 1945
    (pp. 169-206)

    Although fertility rates in Japan in recent years have been relatively close to those of its much larger East Asian neighbor China, the postwar history of fertility decline in these two countries was remarkably different. Japan industrialized much earlier and experienced low fertility rates during the 1930s, but, in addition, the immediate postwar history of Japan reflected three political, demographic, and economic vectors: direct occupation by foreign powers, in this case controlled by the Supreme Command Allied Powers (SCAP), led by the US military; dramatic fertility declines based on widespread abortion rather than contraception or sterilization; and what eventually came...

  10. SEVEN North America and NAFTA
    (pp. 207-244)

    The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which went into effect in 1994, defined “North America” as consisting of the United States, Mexico, and Canada. This is an arbitrary definition and one not followed by others, such as the United Nations,¹ but it is one with some utility in this book, which focuses on the political history of population developments in the last two decades. We do present some data on Canada, but a full discussion of the Canadian case is beyond the scope of this study.²

    Within this NAFTA region, there have long been substantial differentials in fertility. In...

  11. EIGHT Conclusion: Putting the Politics Back In
    (pp. 245-250)

    The extensive literature on the first demographic transition, initiated during the 1920s and 1930s, sought to explain the fertility declines that began in Europe in the eighteenth century primarily by reference to economic development. The more-recent literature on the second demographic transition, which addressed the onset and persistence of very low fertility levels in the 1990s and after, has been heavily cultural in character. The explanatory power of both perspectives is limited by their relative inattention to political elements, as compared to economic or cultural trends, which in very different ways have brought radically different societies to historically unprecedented levels...

  12. Appendix A UN Projections of Total Fertility Rates for Selected Countries
    (pp. 251-271)
  13. Appendix B Effects of and Adaptations to Changing Demographic Composition: A User’s Guide
    (pp. 272-286)
    Michael S. Teitelbaum
  14. Notes
    (pp. 287-322)
  15. Index
    (pp. 323-336)