Living in the demos: qualitative approaches to demographic questions

MacNamara, Trent and Hilevych, Yuliya (2015) Living in the demos: qualitative approaches to demographic questions. The History of the Family, 20 (1). pp. 1-8. ISSN 1081-602X

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/1081602X.2014.992029

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Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive

Abstract

Contributors to this special issue use qualitative methodologies to explore questions traditionally posed by demographers. The introduction summarizes each article and surveys the wider potential significance of qualitative research for historical demography. The authors suggest that this research can disrupt traditional scholarly categories and methods pertaining to reproduction and other demographic phenomena. Qualitative sources may serve as wild cards suggesting new paths of investigation based on individuals' idiosyncratic viewpoints; but they may also offer ways to collapse and integrate wide bodies of knowledge by contextualizing and reframing the blurred cross-categorical world views associated with individuals' actionable ideas and ideals. Studying such views more systematically will become easier as the digitization of human culture, past and present, proceeds apace. Moreover, as digital tools for accessing and interpreting text become more sophisticated, individual- and aggregate-level studies may be increasingly understood as a single scholarly corpus, rather than two parallel approaches with scattered mutual intelligibility and intermittent cross-fertilization. As explanations for fertility decline continue to center on modernization – often without speaking its name – the authors suggest that individual narratives offer a way to subjectivize modernization while avoiding the mystical incoherence of extreme subjectivization.

Keywords:qualitative analysis, marital and reproductive behavior, fertility decline, birth control, historical demography
Subjects:L Social studies > L990 Social studies not elsewhere classified
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Social & Political Sciences
ID Code:41675
Deposited On:13 Aug 2020 10:27

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