colloquium: "Demographic challenges for the 21st century - A State of the Art in Demography"

Project Details


Demography has travelled a long way since it was defined by A.B. Wolfe in the Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences of 1930 as "a kind of bio-social book-keeping, a continuous inventory and analysis of the human population and its vital processes, collectively considered."

Other disciplines, most stringently perhaps econometrics, have adopted key elements of demographic methodology. But as new types of data (longitudinal datasets, panels and pseudo-panels) have become available in many fields of social research, demographic methods for analysing them are still on the march. Demography itself, on the other hand, has integrated topics, methods and frameworks from other branches of science: epidemiology, genetics, sociology, history, economy and anthropology to name just a few. Throughout his career, Ron Lesthaeghe always stressed the importance of embedding demographic research in the broad knowledge stream of the human sciences.

Today we wonder whether our discipline has faded, becoming part of the general toolkit of social science, or rather, has enriched and redefined itself as a new social science in which population change (structural as well as cultural) interacts with its social environment.

At any rate, demography has become, at the beginning of the 21st century a discipline dealing with the main challenges of humanity, broad in scope and multidisciplinary in its own approach.

The aim of the current colloquium is to stimulate reflection on both the new challenges we are confronted with and the state of the art of research in demography. The topics that will be addressed are population dynamics, health and mortality, fertility, and international migration and how these affect our societies and our very values.
Effective start/end date21/03/0730/09/16


  • Sociology


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