Reflections on demographic theories
The article presents the author’s reflections on theories in general and demographic theories in particular. The epidemiological transition, i.e. periodization of changes in the structure of causes of death, proposed by A.R. Omran in 1971 and later raised to the rank of theory, is taken as an example. The author points out the insufficiency of Omran’s concept to explain the contemporary mortality trends and suggests possible directions of theorizing that would enable correlating the new stage of life expectancy growth with the notion of “epidemiological transition”.
In modern Russia youth mortality is higher than in European countries, and over the past 50 years this gap has widened. The aim of this article is to trace the dynamic of youth mortality in Russia in 1959-2014, to compare it with European counties and based on the analysis of differences in the causes of death to understand due to what factors the gap has grown over the past 50 years. To achieve this aim the analysis was implemented. As a result, it’s set that the main differences in Russian youth mortality are appeared in the mortality level of the classes “External causes of death” and “Cardiovascular diseases”. Incomplete epidemiological transition and catastrophic increase in mortality from these main causes of death in 90th in Russia widened the gap in mortality level with European countries. Downward trend in youth mortality in Russia on such rubrics in the class “External causes of death” as “Transport accidents” and “Intentional self-harm” began to form from the mid-late 2000s. In turn, in European countries this tendency was observed at the end of XX century. High mortality of young people is defined by both objective factors (quality and availability of medicine) and subjective factors (self-estimated health, care for health, attitude towards medicine, risk-taking behavior, value of their own life and life of others). Subjective factors connect with vital behavior – people actions, aimed at the preservation of physical, corporal and psychological health. Unlike other classes of causes of death, the class “external causes of death” reflects directly the tendency of young people to risky behavior and unfavorable environment conditions. Therefore the difference in mortality level between Russian and European youth is difficult to overcome without any changes in Russian youth vital behavior.
The concept of the “Second Demographic Transition” (SDT) plays an important role in the discussion about the demographic future of Europe and draws the attention of many researchers to this transition. The “Second Demographic Transition”-theory was formulated initially by Dirk van de Kaa and Ron Lesthaeghe in 1986. They found that, since the mid-1960s, in many countries of Europe there have been significant changes in fertility and family formation patterns. The emergence of this concept required an explanation of what should be understood as the First Demographic Transition (FDT) since until then such a concept did not exist. One of the topics of the article focuses on the comparison of SDT and FDT, in particular on the background and factors of these two transitions. The framework of the “SDT”-theory has evolved over time, but its main points have remained. It suggests a connection between changes in reproductive and matrimonial behavior, living arrangements and changes in values – “ideational shift”. The forms of marriage and family relations show a new dimension, which received in former times hardly attention: individual and independent choice of the partner, the equality of rights of partners, the importance of a lot of individual characteristics that match individual preferences etc. The article deals with the idea, the phenomenon, causes and the extent of the universality of the second demographic transition. Despite the fact that the concept of the “Second Demographic Transition” is the mainstream conceptual framework of sub-replacement fertility and family changes, there is no consensus on its universality and sufficiency. The “SDT”-theory suggests a hypothesis about the reduction of interethnic heterogeneity in European countries through the “standard” sequence of demographic events. Moreover, the supporters of the theory emphasize the similarity in family formation and partnership behavior in some industrialized countries of Asia, the Far East and Latin America and predict the similar individual choice of living arrangements patterns. Can we find a convergence of marriage and partnership behavior in different countries during the Second Demographic Transition? Will the SDT become a worldwide phenomenon (as the First “classical” Demographic Transition) or will it remain “regionally diversified”? The article attempts to get closer to the answer to these main questions. The “SDT”-theory has not only supporters but also opponents. In this regard, the article presents a critical review of the theory of the Second Demographic Transition.
Several approaches to the concept of fatherhood present in Western sociological tradition are analyzed and compared: biological determinism, social constructivism and biosocial theory. The problematics of fatherhood and men’s parental practices is marginalized in modern Russian social research devoted to family and this fact makes the traditional inequality in family relations, when the father’s role is considered secondary compared to that of mother, even stronger. However, in Western critical men’s studies several stages can be outlined: the development of “sex roles” paradigm (biological determinism), the emergence of the hegemonic masculinity concept, inter-disciplinary stage (biosocial theory). According to the approach of biological determinism, the role of a father is that of the patriarch, he continues the family line and serves as a model for his ascendants. Social constructivism looks into man’s functions in the family from the point of view of masculine pressure and establishing hegemony over a woman and children. Biosocial theory aims to unite the biological determinacy of fatherhood with social, cultural and personal context. It is shown that these approaches are directly connected with the level of the society development, marriage and family perceptions, the level of egality of gender order.
This article is talking about state management and cultural policy, their nature and content in term of the new tendency - development of postindustrial society. It mentioned here, that at the moment cultural policy is the base of regional political activity and that regions can get strong competitive advantage if they are able to implement cultural policy successfully. All these trends can produce elements of new economic development.