A globalised biopolitical framework in action: revisiting the demographic transition theory

Proceedings of The 6th International Conference on New Findings on Humanities and Social Sciences

Year: 2021

DOI:

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A globalised biopolitical framework in action: revisiting the demographic transition theory

Tamás Illés

 

ABSTRACT: 

The demographic transition theory is considered to be one of the best known generalisations in the history of social sciences. This paper discusses the circumstances of the emergence of transition theory through a critical analysis of Western discourses, and outlines the historical, cultural, and political context in which the theory has been raised. Through critical deconstruction, the analysis points out the teleological features of the model and its embeddedness in the modernization paradigm. Furthermore, a detailed literature review unfolds how traditional demographic thinking idealised the idea of demographic equilibria. In doing so, the paper demonstrates how the concept of natural fertility used as an epistemological basis in the European Fertility Project (EFP) strengthened the dichotomisation of demographic timeline, and how such a dualistic approach led to the establishment of a causal relationship between fertility and mortality. To conclude, the paper argues that demographic transition theory has been the culmination of a deep intellectual discourse interwoven with the Malthusian thought of homeostasis, and at its very beginning has been adapted to the needs of a globalised Western population policy, conserving these inherent traits in later decades.

Keywords: demography; fertility control; homeostasis; modernization; population policy.