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The Theoretical Landscape Of Anthropological Demography

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Chapter Summary

This chapter develops an analytical framework for the four case studies presented at the preceding chapter. The framework is based on three concepts from demography, namely, the proximate determinants of fertility, demographic transition, and the distinction between natural and controlled fertility. Furthermore, the chapter employs two concepts, population regulation and family systems, that represent areas of intellectual convergence between anthropology and demography. It then discusses the interplay between culture and agency in order to build a more culturally-informed model of reproductive behaviors. The chapter argues that fertility is shaped by a combination of the unintentional (or unintended) impacts of institutional arrangements and the intentional actions of individuals. As such, demographic outcomes at the aggregate level are ultimately the products of countless individual and family-level decisions that are made under the prevailing conditions established by institutional arrangements.

Keywords: anthropology; demography; family systems; fertility; population regulation



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