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  • The Platonic City: Historia and Utopia - Y.Charbit
  • Male and Female Characters in Illustrated Children’s Books or How children’s literature contributes to the construction of gender - C. Brugeilles, I. Comer, S. Cromer
  • Rural Development and Attitudes towards Family Size in Côte d’Ivoire - A. Kouamé , J. Schellekens
  • Unemployment Leads Women to Postpone the Birth of Their First Child - M. Meron, I. Widmer
  • Women’s Employment and Non-Merital Chilbearing: A comparison between East and West Germany in the 1990’s - D. Konietzka, M. Kreyenfeld

Short paper

  • Iranian Families between Demographic Change and the Birth of the Welfare State - M. Ladier-Fouladi

Selected from POPULATION 2001

  • The Hospital, the Woman and the Physician: the Construction of In Vitro Fertilization Trajectories - L. Tain
The Platonic City: History and Utopia
Charbit Yves

Starting with Malthus, several commentators have identified some quantitative elements in the work of Plato that led them to consider him a precursor of demographic thought. This article shows that this interpretation runs against the existence of contradictions between the text of Laws and Republic, and that a demographic point of view is not consistent with the profound coherence of Plato’s thought. A fascination for mathematics and the Pythagorean influence are part of the explanation. But above all, it is the concept of the City, at the same time an ideal utopian model and a concrete social construct, that provides the key to Plato’s "demographic" thought. Faced with the fundamental problem of power and justice, Plato proposes as a solution the restoration of harmony between the City as a political entity and the citizens who compose it. This philosophical approach is complemented by polemical hostility towards the democracy that was, according to him, responsible for the decadence of Athens. Philosophy and the political history of Greece in the fifth and fourth century B. C. are thus essential to an understanding of the meaning of measures that are wrongly qualified as demographic and eugenic and suspected of arising from a totalitarian vision when, in truth, they refer to a concept of man that is quite different from ours.

Male and Female Characters in Illustrated
Brugeilles C., Cromer I., Cromer S.

Children’s Books or How children’s literature contributes to the construction of gender
Inequalities between men and women are underpinned by gender representations that are "internalized" by individuals and, like all social models, are slow to change. The goal of the present study is to analyze the construction of representations designed for children through illustrated books for 0 to 9 year-olds. The originality of the approach lies in the application of a quantitative method to subjects that had previously been studied from a qualitative angle. The text and the pictures of illustrated books are thus considered as "respondents" answering a survey questionnaire. The analysis of all new illustrated children’s books published in 1994 by means of a modular observation frame covering all the characters made it possible to show, beyond the stereotypes, the combinations of factors influencing the development of the representations: sex, age, role (main, secondary, background character), type of character (human, clothed animal, real animal), parental function and occupation of the characters, as well as the intended readership and the sex of the writers and illustrators.

Rural Development and Attitudes towards Family Size in Côte d’Ivoire
Kouamé Aka, Schellekens Jona

The purpose of this paper is to study the impact of rural development on attitudes towards family size in Côte d’Ivoire. We assume that improved conditions of production and of living conditions of rural populations, through the development of village infrastructure and the modernization of agricultural production techniques, induce new attitudes towards reproduction, including a preference for small families. The results of our analyses, which are based on data collected in 21 rural communities across the national territory of Côte d’Ivoire, confirm the hypothesis. These results confirm those of previous studies conducted in Asia and Latin America, and are consistent with Kocher’s hypothesis that modernization efforts in rural areas may result in a significant decline of fertility.

Unemployment Leads Women to Postpone the Birth of Their First Child
Meron Monique, Widmer Isabelle

Unemployment, more than other activity statuses, prompts childless young women in union to delay a prospective maternity. This result is established here for women born between 1952 and 1973, on the basis of data from the Youth and Careers Survey carried out by INSEE in 1997. Young women confronted with a period of unemployment chose to forego their first child for a while, rather than take advantage of the "free" time imposed on them. In contrast, homemakers especially at the beginning of their union tend to have their first births much more rapidly. This result confirms that a period of unemployment is not tantamount to a period of inactivity. In matters of fertility, unemployed women are not homemakers.
Economic fluctuations have an especially important impact on the early working life of the young, at the very time when they may be starting a family. The usual statistical analyses do not make it possible to demonstrate a clear link between the growth of unemployment and the increase in the age at first birth. Biographical analysis sheds light on the impact of female unemployment on childbearing plans, by including the timing of life history events of individuals among the variables that explain behaviour.
In a society where contraception makes it possible for women to master the timing of their fertility and where female labour force participation has become the norm, these findings show that the family building process and the couples’ decisions are now factoring in the work experience and the career goals of both partners.

Women’s Employment and Non-Marital Childbearing: A Comparison between East and West Germany in the 1990s
Konietzka D., Kreyenfeld M

In contrast to West Germany, where marriage and childbirth have been strongly coupled, the German Democratic Republic (GDR) displayed high rates of non-marital childbearing. Researchers attributed this pattern to "misguided" GDR family policies that encouraged women to remain unmarried after childbirth. With German unification, East Germany’s legal and political institutions - including family policies - were replaced by those of West Germany. Against this background, it was widely expected that east German non-marital birth rates would soon fall to west German levels. After unification, however, they increased even further.
This article argues that the enormous east-west differences in non-marital childbearing in the 1990s can be attributed to differences in women’s work orientation. Despite unfavourable labour market constraints and social policies that encourage women’s withdrawal from the labour force after childbirth, east German women, compared with their west German counterparts, are still more likely to be in full-time employment, and to re-enter the labour force sooner after childbirth. Our empirical investigation, drawing on data from the German 1997 micro-census, reveals a strong effect of women’s education and employment on marriage in west Germany, whereas in east Germany the probability of living in a marital union is hardly correlated at all with women’s employment characteristics. We conclude that a generally strong female work orientation and the wide availability of public day care facilities are the most important factors weakening the economic incentives for east German women to get married at childbirth.
Selected from Population 2001

The Hospital, the Woman and the Physician: the Construction of In Vitro Fertilization Trajectories
Tain Laurence

The changes associated with the development of new reproductive technologies, and notably of IVF that currently account for more than 1% of births in France, have been the subject of many studies, but few have conducted a longitudinal analysis of the trajectories of the couples engaged in an IVF course of treatment. This largely unexplored field is approached here through the observation of one thousand medical files of a hospital service that provides medically assisted conception. The study describes the types of itineraries followed by couples from first consultation for infertility to an eventual in vitro fertilization, and attempts to identify some of the social compromises that shape the process. Against a background of growing demand for technological solutions, clinical constraints and specific strategies of the couples, the study highlights the dominant role of the medical institution and the influence of the patients in the social construction of these trajectories.ergoing radical transformations.

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