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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Sociology

Postgraduate Course: Social Demography (SCIL11024)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course is an introduction to the social scientific study of human populations, including their size, composition with respect to age, sex, and other characteristics, and their geographic distribution. We will be discussing the latest demographic research that addresses such questions as:

*How many Americans are gay?
*Why did the fertility rate decline in many countries during the second half of the twentieth century?
*Why are Glaswegians in poorer health than residents of many other UK cities?

This course is organized as follows. In week 1 we discuss the kinds of research questions that are of interest to social demographers. I also give my take on what is distinctive about a demographic approach to social research. In weeks 2 and 3 we discuss the sources of quantitative and qualitative data and analytical methods that demographers use. In weeks 4, 5, and 6 we discuss two basic demographic processes necessary for understanding population change: fertility and mortality. We review issues of conceptualization and measurement as well as theories of fertility and mortality differentials at the population level. In weeks 7 and 8 we cover the special topic of family demography, which is concerned with the interrelationship between family behavior (e.g., marriage) and population processes (e.g., fertility). In week 9 we discuss the implications of population aging and family change for the strength of older people┐s support systems. In week 10 we discuss social policy developments in this domain among more economically developed countries.
Course description In most weeks there will be a 1-hour lecture followed by a 1-hour discussion based on that week's readings. Postgraduates will also be required to attend five informal seminars on the following Thursdays:

September 24th (week 1)
October 22nd (week 5)
October 29th (week 6)
November 12th (week 8)
November 19th (week 9)
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand how births, deaths, and migration affect population change.
  2. Know the sources of data and analytical methods that demographers use.
  3. Be able to compare and contrast theories of fertility and mortality differentials.
  4. Understand the interrelationship between various family behaviors and population processes.
  5. Know demographic changes and social policy developments that have implications for the robustness of older people┐s support systems.
Reading List
Core Texts
*Poston, Jr., Dudley L., and Leon F. Bouvier. 2010. Population and Society: An Introduction to Demography. Cambridge University Press.
*Reviews essays from the academic journal Annual Review of Sociology.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Alexander Janus
Tel: (0131 6)51 3965
Course secretaryMrs Gillian MacDonald
Tel: (0131 6)51 3244
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