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“Asian values” and “Islamic democracy.” These

actors argue that the “Western” liberal assumptions

contained in this dominant discourse about

democratic governance reflect a cultural bias.

Today, despite the efforts of advocates of deliberative

democracy, like Ju¨rgen Habermas, who

emphasize the possibility of a consensus reached

through public deliberation, it seems that the

only definition of democracy that can avoid these

cultural dilemmas is one that is couched in

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democracy democracy

negative terms. In other words, democracy is a

form of government in which those wielding political

power do so only by virtue of the popular

mandate that they received from the citizens,

and no other claim to legitimacy can trump this

principle of democratic rule. As a political principle,

the utilization of the notion of democracy

has, therefore, important epistemological implications.

It indicates that in this political order, as a

matter of principle, no citizen can claim to know

better than his or her neighbor what is politically

desirable and achievable. Democracy as a form of

government simply reflects this equality of judgment

in political life and its institutionalization

in a political system. And, as we enter the information

age, changes in the way in which political

opinion can be estimated and fed back into the

decisionmaking process have the potential to

redefine democratic politics at the level of both

party politics and state politics. FREDERIC VOLPI

democratization

– see democracy.

demographic transition

– see demography.

demography

The term demography comes from the Greek

words for population (demos) and for description

or writing (graphia). The term de´mographie is

believed to have been first used in 1855 by the

Belgian statistician Achille Guillard in his book

Elements of Human Statistics or Comparative Demography

(1855 [trans. 1985]).

Demography is concerned with how large (or

small) populations are – that is, their size; how the

populations are composed according to age, sex,

race, marital status, and other characteristics –

that is, their composition; and how populations

are distributed in physical space, for example

how urban and rural they are – that is, their

spatial distribution. Of equal or greater importance,

demography is interested in the changes

over time in the size, composition, and distribution

of populations, as these result from the

processes of fertility, mortality, and migration.

Demography is also concerned with answering

the question of why these variables operate and

change in the way they do. That is, why do populations

increase (or decrease) in numbers? Why

do they become older or younger? Why do they

become more urban or rural?

One paradigm in demography uses mainly demographic

variables to answer the above questions,

and this is known as formal demography. Another

paradigm uses mainly non-demographic variables

drawn from sociology, economics, psychology,

geography, biology, and so forth, to answer the

questions, and this is known as social demography

or population studies.

For instance, formal demographers might address

population differences in birth rates or in

death rates by examining their differences in age

composition or in sex composition. Other things

being equal, younger populations will have higher

birth rates than older populations; and populations

with an abundance of females over males

will have lower death rates than populations with

an abundance of males.

Alternately, social demographers might address

the above differences in populations by examining

differences in, say, their socioeconomic status.

Other things being equal, populations with high

socioeconomic status will have lower birth rates

and death rates than populations with low socioeconomic

status.

Demographic data will help illustrate the differences



between these two approaches. Take the

demographic question of why human populations

have different levels of fertility. Countries differ

with respect to their total fertility rates (roughly

defined as the average number of children born to

a woman during her childbearing years). In Spain

and Italy in 2004, for instance, women were producing

an average of 1.3 children each, whereas in

Somalia the average number was 7.1 and in Niger,

8.0 (Population Reference Bureau, 2004). Why do

these fertility differences exist? The social demographer

would go beyond purely demographic

concerns and might focus on the processes of

industrialization and modernization, while the

formal demographer would rely more on purely

demographic kinds of explanations.

Another example focuses on rates of population

growth. In 2004 the rates of population change due

only to births and deaths in Hungary and Bulgaria

were –0.4 percent and –0.6 percent respectively. In

contrast, the rates in Malawi, and Saudi Arabia

were 3.1 percent and 3.0 percent, respectively.

Why are these four countries growing at such

drastically different rates? Why do two of the

countries have negative growth rates and the

other two positive rates? The formal demographer

might develop an answer by considering the birth

rates of these countries. The numbers of babies

born per 1,000 population in 2004 in Hungary,

Bulgaria, Malawi, and Saudi Arabia were 9, 9, 51

and 32, respectively. The latter two countries have

higher rates of growth than the former two

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democratization demography



countries partly because their birth rates are

higher. The social demographer would first consider

the birth rate differentials, but would then

go beyond this demographic consideration to an

answer involving non-demographic factors which

may be influencing the birth rates. Perhaps the

economy has something to do with these differences,

where countries with low per capita

incomes and low literacy rates for women tend

to have higher birth rates. Perhaps the level of

industrialization of the country has an impact

(the more industrialized countries generally have

lower birth rates).

Social demography is broader in scope and

orientation than formal demography. As S. H.

Preston writes in “The Contours of Demography:

Estimates and Projections,” in Demography (1993:

593), it includes “research of any disciplinary

stripe on the causes and consequences of population

change.” Demographers, however, do not

always agree about the boundaries and restrictions

of their field. J. Caldwell states the problem

succinctly in “Demography and Social Science”

(1996): “What demography is and what demographers

should be confined to doing remains a difficult

area in terms not only of the scope of

professional interests, but also of the coverage

aimed at in the syllabuses for students and in

what is acceptable for journals in the field.”

In the United States, most graduate training

programs in demography are located in departments

of sociology (although this is not the case

in many other countries). Some American demographers

thus argue that demography is best

treated as a subdiscipline or specialization of

sociology, owing to this organizational relationship.

The late Kingsley Davis (1908–97), who served

at different times as President of both the Population

Association of America and the American

Sociological Association, wrote in 1948 in his classic

sociology textbook, Human Society (1948), that

“the science of population, sometimes called

demography, represents a fundamental approach

to the understanding of human society.” The

relationship between sociology and demography

is hence a fundamental one: “Society is both

a necessary and sufficient cause of population

trends.”


Change in the size of a population over a certain

period of time is due to changes in the same time

period in the three demographic processes of fertility,

mortality, and migration. A population may

change its size over a given time interval by adding

the number of persons born during the period,

subtracting those dying during the interval, and

adding the number of persons moving into the

area and subtracting those moving out of the area.

The dynamics of population change may be

represented in a form known as the population

equation, also known as the balancing equation

P2 ¼ P1 ‏ B _ D ‏ = _ M

where P2 is the size of the population at the end of

the time interval; P1 is the size of the population

at the beginning of the time interval; B is the

number of births occurring in the population during

the interval; D is the number of deaths occurring

in the population during the interval; and M

is the net number of migrants moving to, or away

from, the population during the interval.

To illustrate, the following are data for the United

States for the time interval of July 1, 2001 to

June 30, 2002:

US population size, July 1, 2002: 288,368,698;

US population size, July 1, 2001: 285,317,559;

Births from July 1, 2001 through June 30, 2002:

4,047,642;

Deaths from July 1, 2001 through June 30, 2002:

2,445,837;

Immigrations from July 1, 2001 through June 30,

2002: 1,664,334;

Emigrations from July 1, 2001 through June 30,

2002: 215,000.

These data may be incorporated into the population

equation as follows:

P2ً288; 368; 698ق ¼ P1ً285; 317; 559ق ‏ Bً4; 047; 642ق

_Dً2; 445; 837ق ‏ Mً1; 664; 334 _ 215; 000ق

The population equation describes a closed and

determinate model, provided its geographical

area remains the same. This is so because population

change can occur only through the operation

of the three demographic processes. Stated

in another way, a population changes in terms

of two forms of entry (births and in-migration) and

two forms of exit (deaths and out-migration); no

other variables need be entertained. Of course,

if one wishes to determine why fertility and mortality

are at certain levels, or why in-migration

and out-migration are different, other nondemographic

variables need to be entertained. As

discussed above, these are the concerns of social

demography.

The word “population” derives from the Latin

populare (to populate) and the Latin noun populatio.

Geoffrey McNicoll, in the Encyclopedia of Population

(2003), notes that, in ancient times, the verb

populare meant to lay waste, plunder, or ravage

and the noun populatio meant a plundering or

despoliation. These usages became obsolete by

the eighteenth century. The modern use of the

129


demography demography

word population first appeared in 1597 in an essay

by Francis Bacon (1561–1626).

Strictly speaking, a population is a group or

collection of items. But to a demographer a population

is a group or collection of people. We may

distinguish between a specific population or

group of actual people alive at a given period of

time – for example the population of the United

States as of April 1, 2000 – and the population that

persists over time even though its actual members

may change, for example the population of China

over the past 4,000 years, and even into its future.

The more common use of the term population by

demographers and in modern English usage is

with reference to a delimited set, with unambiguous

membership criteria, such as the population

of the People’s Republic of China as

identified and enumerated in its 2000 census.

In a similar vein, N. B. Ryder, in “Notes on the

Concept of a Population” (1964 American Journal of

Sociology 69 (5): 447–63), defines a population as an

aggregate of individuals defined in spatial and

temporal terms. It is not necessarily a group,

which in sociological terms requires some forms

of interpersonal interaction and the development

of a sense of community. The analysis of human

populations is inherently dynamic because attention

is focused on changes in the population over

time. The population equation is a demonstration.

Ryder also states that the population model is

both microdynamic and macrodynamic in nature.

This means that processes of change in fertility,

mortality, and migration can be identified at both

the individual and aggregate levels. This distinction

lies at the very heart of the population model

because it introduces Alfred J. Lotka’s distinction

between the persistence of the individual and

the persistence of the aggregate, to be found in

Analytical Theory of Biological Populations (1934

[trans. 1998]). All human beings are born, live

for some period of time, and then die. But a

population aggregate is not temporally limited,

provided that enough individuals continue to

enter the population to replace those exiting; the

population in this sense is immortal.

Population aggregates, in terms both of the

changes in numbers and of the characteristics of

those entering and exiting, can experience

changes not reducible to individuals who constitute

the population. For instance, when individuals

enter a population through birth or inmigration,

they will “age” by becoming older.

But the population aggregate cannot only become

older, it can also become younger, provided that

births exceed deaths and the in-migrants are

younger than the out-migrants. The racial and

sex composition of a population aggregate may

also change if more members of one race (see

race and ethnicity) or sex enter it than another.

Typically, persons do not change their race or sex.

Indeed, all human institutions and organizations

may be conceived in these terms. One way that

social change may be studied is by the monitoring

of compositional change caused by entrances and

exits.


Age is the key variable in the study of populations

because it reflects the passage of time. It is

subject to metric measurement and provides a

precise statement of the time spent by individuals

in a population. Demographers use two key concepts

in studying age-related changes, namely, the

life-cycle and the cohort. The former permits the

charting of the life-course experiences of individuals,

for example, age of entry into and exit

from formal education, entry into full-time

employment and subsequent retirement, first

marriage, births of first and last children, and so

forth.

The cohort is an aggregate of individuals who



experience important events in their life-cycles at

the same time. The defining event is often year of

birth, but cohorts are also based on year of entry

into or graduation from college, year of birth of

first child, year of retirement, and so forth. In

this context, age as the passage of time is the

linkage between the history of the individual

and population.

Cohorts (see generations) are valuable analytically

because they are subpopulations intermediate

between the behaviors of individuals and the

population. In terms of birth cohorts, we can conceptualize

the population at any given moment in

time as a cross-section of cohorts which are

arranged uniformly in a staggered manner, each

one on top of its immediate predecessor in time.

In recent decades some of the most impressive

and enduring accomplishments in demography

have been made in formal demography. Features

of the population model, some of which have just

been discussed, have been developed, and the

fruitfulness of the approach and its core concerns

have been demonstrated. DUDLEY L . POSTON

denomination

This term is used to differentiate among diverse

religious traditions and to categorize diverse

affiliations within a shared tradition (most usually

within Protestantism and Judaism). Denominationalism

emerged as a useful construct in

describing and understanding American religious

130

demography denomination



history because of the pluralism of its religious

traditions and the notable diversity of the range

of Protestant sects (see church–sect typology)

that have characterized America since colonial

times. Symbolically, denominationalism offers

tacit acknowledgment that there is no “one true

universal Church,” but that diverse religious

denominations, while founded in a belief in a

common divine source, develop in particular

ways and assume particular organizational characteristics

because of the accretions of history and

culture. Denominationalism is a dynamic process

contingent on multiple contextual factors and in

American society is seen as a critical component

of cultural identity and belonging. Will Herberg

argued that the tripartite options of Protestant-

Catholic-Jew (1955) offered a socially acceptable

way for Americans of diverse ethnic and religious

backgrounds to maintain a distinct identity while

affirming their shared commitment to religion

and, by extension, to American values (its civil

religion). Denominationalism is intertwined with

other significant aspects of American religion,

including the centrality of personal freedom and

choice in regard to churches and doctrines.

The heuristic use of denomination rather than

church or religion offers a nuanced way of thinking

about the place of religion in a particular

society; in the contemporary United States, for

example, although Protestantism is the largest

religious tradition (or church), Catholicism is the

largest single denomination, and is followed by

(Protestant) Southern Baptists. The comparative

social status of different denominations (in

terms of membership, institutional activities, political

influence) over time is also a useful way of

tracking, and theorizing about, changes in denominational

membership and activities. Historically,

denominational splitting occurred within

Protestantism because of disputes over various

theological and doctrinal questions (for example,

requirements for salvation or the meanings of

baptism and the eucharist) or forms of authority

(hierarchical or congregational), differences in

geographical region, ethnic/national origins (for

example, Scotch Presbyterians), or social class,

and in regard to political issues (such as slavery).

Each denomination, therefore, has a discrete

historical, cultural, and organizational identity

whose worldview and practices distinguish it

from other denominations.

In recent decades, there is increased evidence

that denominational identity is weakening in

the United States. Although it was never an allencompassing

identity – as indicated by the

significant rates of intermarriage among Protestants

of different denominations, and of

church and denominational switching or mobility

more generally – it has lost some of its salience

both as an anchor of individual identity and in

terms of demarcating sociocultural and political

boundaries. There is some evidence that the

conservative/liberal ideological division within

denominations is more important in differentiating

individuals and producing coalitions among

individuals and groups independently of denomination

(for example, Robert Wuthnow, The Restructuring

of American Religion, 1988). Denominational

affiliation still matters, however, and constrains

or moderates individual attitudes and behavior

(such as health and life-style practices). Strong

denominational loyalties and commitments on

the part of individuals can also constrain interorganizational

relationships between denominations,

and have an impact on specific issues (such

as welfare reforms and gay marriages) in the

formation of public policy.

One of the tensions confronting denominations

today is to achieve a balance between articulating

their own particular denominational identity and

simultaneously engaging in interdenominational

and interchurch discourse and cooperation across

various theologically charged (for example, abortion

or stem-cell research) and economic and political

issues (such as globalization).

MICHELE DI L LON

denominationalization

– see denomination.

dependency theory

– see development theory.

deprivation

– see relative deprivation.

descent

– see kinship.



descent groups

– see kinship.

desegregation

– see segregation.

deskilling

Philosophical anthropology sometimes conceives

of the essence of humankind in terms of homo

faber rather than homo oeconomicus. The former

highlights people’s capacity to acquire skills,

denomination deskilling

131

engage in creative labor, and derive pleasure from



exercising these skills. In contrast, rational economic

calculation could lead to deskilling to cut

material and monetary costs. In general, deskilling

reduces the skills needed for a given product

or service and/or involves loss of skills due to

failure to exercise them (for example, through

long-term unemployment).

Classical political economy discussed deskilling.

Adam Smith (1723–90) illustrated it through the

division of labor in pin manufacture, and Marx

showed how this was reinforced by the transition

to machinofacture. Postindustrialism in turn deskills

intellectual labor through smart machines

and expert systems that integrate tacit knowledge

and intellectual skills. Examples include automation

of scientific tests, software for legal work, and

work in call centers.

Labor economists and economic sociology continue

to discuss whether modern economies

require more or less skilled labor. This reflects

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