Frans Willekens imparteix el Seminari “Population thinking”, en el marc dels Colloquium CED

Organiza: Centre d’Estudis Demogràfics

Lugar: Sala Àngels Torrents, CED

Hora: 11:00 - 12:30

Previ al Col·loqui, de 10:40 a 11:00h, esteu tots convidats a l’Espai del cafè.

Frans Willekens és Professor Emèrit de Demografia i Investigador a la Netherlands Interuniversity Demographic Institute-NIDI, University of Groningen (Països Baixos).

Abstract.- Population thinking.

The concept ofpopulation thinking was proposed by the biologist Mayr in 1959 to advocate thatregularities that occur in populations emerge as unintended consequences of actionsand activities of individuals. Adam Smith (1723-1790) was probably the first toadopt that perspective on populations, which in the social sciences becameknown as methodological individualism,a term coined by Joseph Schumpeter in 1909, but a concept usually attributed toMax Weber (1864-1920) and James Coleman (1926-1995). The approach is the hallmarkof analytical sociology. Recently, Goldthorpe argued that sociology is apopulation science in need for populationthinking (Goldthorpe, 2016, Sociology as a population science,Cambridge University Press). Metcalfe(2001) calls population thinking the core of evolutionary economics. Liagourasdescribes the mood in the social sciences by addressing the question “Ispopulation thinking the only game in the social sciences?” (Liagouras, 2017, p.807).
The rise in population thinkingacross the social sciences offers a unique opportunity for demographers to strengthendemography as a discipline. Demography needs to clarify its core and todemonstrate that its core is also the core of population thinking. Norman Ryder’spaper “The cohort as a concept in the study of social change” is an appropriatepoint of departure. It integrates (a) developmental processes that characterizethe individual life course and offer a framework for understanding individualactions, and (b) cohort replacement mechanisms that characterize populationsand societies. Social processes need to be included, in particular those thatunderlie the emergence, reinforcement and loosening of social networks duringthe individual life course and the resilience of networks to cohortreplacement. Demography can build on insights in family and kinship networks,household dynamics and support networks.
To meet the challenge, demographyneeds (a) a theory of action that is not constrained by disciplinary boundariesand that incorporates social interaction, (b) a process theory of the lifecourse and cohort replacement, (c) a process theory of social networks and thesocial structures they generate, and (d) an extension of demographic models toactor-based models that incorporate (a)-(c) and that guide data collection anddata analysis.