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The Anthropological Demography of Europe: state of the art and perspectives

Anthropological demography asks how population processes and socio-cultural practices affect each other. Demographic models that do not acknowledge the importance of the cultural embedding of behaviour tend to reduce cultural meanings and practices to a list of traits that are added to standard institutional and individual background characteristics. In this representation of culture, behaviour is guided by a system of discrete rules and beliefs into which individuals have been socialised. Most anthropologists depart from these interpretations of culture, contrasting them with a view of cultural constructs that constitutes a framework in which experience is anticipated, interpreted and evaluated. Incorporated into anthropological demography, this approach attends closely to the perception of the actors involved in the production of vital events such as births and marriage in the life course, to transregional and transnational movements of individuals and families, and to health and ageing.

To date, the original insights into the study of demographic behaviour that anthropological demographers have provided have focussed on regions outside Europe. The workshop aims at picturing the state of the art of the anthropological demography research on the European landscape.

  • Empirical papers should focus on the different cultural frames of family, reproduction, ageing, and migration in contemporary Europe and their consequences for regional fertility and family dynamics, migration movements, mortality and morbidity patterns.
  • Theoretical papers are invited to reflect on which concept or concepts of culture are employed in research on fertility, migration and health and how, on which features of culture need to be considered and how to best operationalising and integrating them into empirical research.
  • Methodological papers are welcome to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of anthropological methods employed in demography and their level of integration with more standard demographic methodologies as well as the quality criteria needed for integrative research of this kind. Theoretical and methodological contributions, though based on empirical research in world regions other than Europe, should explicitly address their relevance for the understanding of European demographic dynamics.

An abstract of about 500 words should be submitted to the organizers through the registration form no later than April 10, 2005. Final decisions regarding acceptance will be made by April 30. Discussion papers for accepted abstracts should be sent to the organizers no later than August 10, 2005.

A round table will conclude the workshop by addressing issues like the place of anthropological demography within the discipline of demography and the future steps of the EAPS working group to foster this line of research.

Important Dates

  • Abstracts: 10 April 2005
  • Acceptance: 30 April 2005
  • Discussion Paper: 10 August 2005


Ms. Bärbel Splettstösser

Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research


phone + 49 381 2081208

fax + 49 381 2081408

Thursday, September 29, 2005 to Friday, September 30, 2005
Working Group: 
Anthropological demography of Europe (completed)
Event Type: