The reproductive revolution

John MacInnes, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Julio Perez Diaz, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

The rise of modernity is dependent upon a third ‘revolution’ alongside the well-known economic and political ones: the reproductive revolution, comprising a unique historical shift in the efficiency of human reproduction. We argue that changes in mortality as well as fertility are central to understanding the reproduction of population, that a longitudinal perspectivie is vital and that insufficient attention has been paid to the manifold effects of the tremendous decline in the amount of labour bound up with the task of popultion replacement. We argue that using this concept turns many orthodox demographic propositions on their heads. E.g. value changes are more a result, rather than cause, of demographic change. As well as reviewing some empirical evidence for the concept, its implications for the debates on the family, the social regulation of sexuality, ‘population ageing’ and falling fertility are discussed.

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Presented in Session 74: Mortality and reproduction