Population 2002 n° 6
- Demography and Politics in the First Post-Soviet Censuses: Mistrusted State, Contested Identities - D. Arel
- Paleodemography and Historical Demography in the Context of an Epidemic: Plague in Provence in the Eighteenth Century - M. Signoli, I. Seguy J.-N. Biraben, O. Dutour
- The Political Failure of an Economic Theory: Physiocracy - Y. Charbit
- The Shock of Widowhood on the Eve of Old Age: Male and Female Experiences - C. Delbes, J. Gaymu
- The Practice of Naturalization in Switzerland: A Statistical Overview - P. Wanner, É. Piguet
Selected from POPULATION 2001
- Demand for Contraception in Sahelian Countries: Are Men’s and Women’s Expectations Converging? Burkina Faso and Mali, Compared to Ghana - A. Andro, V. Hertrich
Demography and Politics in the First Post-Soviet Censuses: Mistrusted State, Contested Identities
Censuses are political events. The first post-Soviet censuses have presented new political challenges to census officials in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and the Baltic countries. Three issues have dominated the agenda: migration, confidentiality, and ethnic nationality. Overall population figures have officially decreased in all post-Soviet countries, but the Russian state’s incapacity and unwillingness to record unregistered migration is producing a deceptive demographic decline. A general mistrust of the state has made people sceptical of guarantees of confidentiality of census data. The mistrust is greatest in Russia and the census has revealed a post-authoritarian state uncertain about how to approach its own population. Post-Soviet censuses, unlike western ones, have all kept a question on ethnic nationality, since nationality legitimates their sovereignty. The Kazakh census has been preoccupied with producing ethnic Kazakh majorities, at the national level and in gerrymandered provinces. The Russian Federation, the only federation in the world that links ethnicity to territory, has faced a plethora of claims to recognition of new nationalities in the census, including the Cossack. On language, the Ukrainian and Baltic censuses have attempted to minimize the Russian presence by statistical means, while the Belarusian census aims at underreporting knowledge of Belarusian. The article argues that all these disputed census categories reflect political interests.
Paleodemography and Historical Demography in the Context of an Epidemic: Plague in Provence in the Eighteenth Century
Signoli Michel, Séguy Isabelle, Biraben Jean-Noël, Dutour Olivier
This article sheds an entirely new light on the study of the plague thanks to contributions from disciplines that are only seldom brought together around the same research topic: anthropology, archaeology, historical demography, history, microbiology and paleodemography. It confronts two types of documents: biological archives (the skeletons) and historical archives, the comparative study of which has provided new and original information.
Distribution of the casualties by sex, age and intensity of the epidemic phase has been established and compared with previous results. The age distribution of deaths from the plague differs from "natural" mortality profiles and from deaths resulting from other epidemics or other demographic crises. The plague epidemic may be characterized as "non selective", given that the bio- or paleodemographic sample may be considered as a reflection of the structure of the living population, something which is rarely observed.
The results that we present concern a recent period for which the historical archives are of exceptional richness and provide a great deal of information on modern plague epidemics. The results from anthropological fieldwork and microbiology enable us to envisage similar research on more ancient epidemics, even in the absence of written documents.
The Political Failure of an Economic Theory: Physiocracy
Physiocracy, the "rule of nature", which held agriculture to be the sole source of wealth, was the first theoretical account of the relationship between the economy and population. The centrality of agriculture is the key to understanding the theory of population. Population is a dependent variable, and from this a number of implications flow concerning luxury, free trade, the fiscal system, and the army.
The "Physiocratic movement" failed, however, to win acceptance for its system and this political failure was inextricably linked to the theoretical construct. The Physiocrats’ strategy for development lacked credibility compared with the alternatives, in particular colonial trade. Also damaging was the association of their views with the fear of famine. Finally, they were unable to resolve the impossible contradictions between rigour in economic theory and the pressure of political realities. The result was their near total isolation.
The Shock of Widowhood on the Eve of Old Age: Male and Female Experiences
Delbès Christiane, Gaymu Joëlle
In France today nearly 4 million people are widowed. This marital status is a characteristic of the elderly but also of women: 84% of the widowed are widows!
The present longitudinal study describes the context of widowhood between ages 62 and 75 and the subsequent reorganization of life, on the basis of a comparison between widowed and married respondents. It shows how the adaptation to widowhood can be more or less difficult for men and women. The main areas of retired life (family and leisure activities) are examined. A substantial part of the study focuses on the psychological consequences of widowhood.
All the indicators suggest that the widows’ life is more difficult. They have a more negative view of life and of retirement, suffer more frequently from loneliness, and are more subject to depressive tendencies. Their lesser involvement in leisure activities and their greater social isolation show how much they are disadvantaged.
Although excess mortality following the loss of a spouse is much higher for men than for women, those who avoid death appear to adapt better than women to the loss of their spouse.
Demand for Contraception in Sahelian Countries: Are Men’s and Women’s Expectations Converging? Burkina Faso and Mali, Compared to Ghana
Andro Armelle, Hertrich Véronique
The low level of contraceptive practice in the Sahel countries is often attributed to the deficiencies of family planning services. It is assumed, on the basis of surveys among women, that a demand for contraception exists. This article re-examines the issue of demand for contraception, looking not just at the expectations of women, but also of men and of couples.
The analyses are based on the Demographic and Health Surveys carried out in Burkina Faso (1993) and Mali (1995-1996), with Ghana (1993) being used as a comparison.
The findings point to considerable heterogeneity in the demand for contraception. The demand for family limitation is non-negligible among women, much weaker among men, and almost insignificant among couples. This heterogeneity constitutes an important barrier to the spread of contraception, since men play a decisive role in initiating contraceptive practice. In both Mali and Burkina Faso, the probability of using contraception is chiefly dictated by men’s attitudes, and women’s views count for little. This pattern, however, seems to be changing among the younger generations, where men’s and women’s attitudes are more convergent.