Demographic Shifts and Social Change

  • Urbanization
  • Urbanization is movement of people from rural to urban areas.
  • Rural is anywhere with <1000 people per square mile. Has to have les than 25000 residents.
  • Urban areas include cities/towns with >1000 people per square mile.
    • Cities have over 50 000 people.
    • Metropolis have over 500 000 people.
    • If many metropolises are connected, called megalopolis (ex. 44 million people in NYC area).
  • Cities are sites of culture, but also host to more crime. According to conflict theory, they’re sources of inequality. From symbolic interactionism viewpoint, cities are places where people can get different perspective of looking at life.
  • Why people move to urban areas?
    • More job opportunities, and more options for education/healthcare/etc.
    • Isn’t enough land for everyone to farm.
    • Crowding can occur in cities. And less sense of belonging, so we join groups to form communities.
  • Suburbanization is movement away from cities, but commute for work can be long and harder to get medical help. However, suburbs form their own economic centres. Ex. Silicon Valley.
    • Beyond suburbs are exurbs, prosperous areas outside the city where people live and commute to city to work, like suburbs.
  • Urban renewal – revamping old parts of cities to become better. But can lead to gentrification, which means when redone they target a wealthier community which increases property value. People there before are pushed out because they can’t afford it – leads to great inequality in cities.
  • Rural rebound – people getting sick of cities and moving back to rural areas. People who can afford to leave the city.
    • Often move to scenic rural areas
  • Population Dynamics
  • Looks at how population of a region changes – factors that increase/decrease a population.
  • 3 factors contribute to total growth rate: fertility, migration, mortality
    • Fertility is ability to have babies, which add to the population. Fecundity is the potential reproductive capacity of a female.
    • Migration is number of people moving permanently into/out of countries. Doesn’t change total people on planet but does change it in a region.
    • Mortality is death, decreases population.
  • To measure these, we use rates. Measure rates over 1 year, and per 1000 people so rates are comparable.
  • What affects population changes:
    • Increase: Births and Can also look at births in terms of fertility rate. On avg women in US gives birth to 2.1 children in her life. If 2, no increase/decrease in population.
    • Decrease: Death and emigration. Can calculate mortality rate by age group, or country.
  • Growth rate is not always a positive number. While world population grows, growth rate of some countries is negative.

 

  • Demographic Transition
  • Demographic transition is a model that changes in a country’s population – population will eventually stop growing when country transitions from high birth/death rates to low fertility/mortality.
    • This stabilization often occurs in developed countries.
    • When immigrants travel to developed countries, they affect demographic transition of the country by increasing fertility and decreasing mortality (often healthier people migrate).
  • 5 stages:
  • 1) High birth rates due to limited birth control, advantage for more workers, and high death rate due to disease. Most countries at this stage prior to 18th century when death rates fell in Europe. Large young and small old population.
  • 2) Seen in beginnings of developing populations. Population rises as death rate decreases. 19th century Europe.
  • 3) Death rates and birth rates fall because of birth control, fewer childhood deaths, and children no longer needed to work – not economically beneficial. Slower expansion and longer lived elderly.
  • 4) Population stabilizes, both birth and death rates are low. Population is large.
  • 5) Speculation. World population stabilizes, Malthusian Theorem suggests. Run out of resources, food shortage. Leads to public health disaster and force population to stabilize and decrease birth rate – negative growth rate.

demographic-transition

  • Globalization Theories
  • Globalization is the sharing of culture, money and products between countries.
  • Not recent – ex. 1st century BCE Silk Route.
  • World-Systems Theory – importance of world as a unit, divides world into 3 countries: core, periphery, and semi-periphery.
    • Core = Western Europe and US.
    • Periphery = Latin America and Africa. Greatly influenced by and depend on core countries and transnational corporations.
    • Semi-periphery = India and Brazil, middle-ground.
      • Criticized on being too focused on core countries and ignoring class struggles of individual countries.
    • Modernization Theory – all countries follow similar path of development to modern society.
      • With some help traditional countries can develop similarly to today’s developed countries did.
    • Dependency Theory – Reaction to Modernization theory. Uses idea of Core + Periphery countries to look at inequalities.
      • Periphery countries export resources to Core countries, and don’t have means to develop.
    • Hyperglobalist Perspective sees it as a new age in human history – countries become interdependent and nation states themselves are less important. Don’t agree if good or bad.
    • Skeptical Perspective – critical, considers it as being regionalized instead of globalized.
      • Third world countries aren’t being integrated into global economy with same benefits.
    • Transformationalist Perspective – doesn’t have specific cause or outcome. Believe national governments are changing, perhaps becoming less important but difficult to explain change so simply.
      • They see the world order is changing. Just a new world order is being designed. Outcome unknown.
  • Globalization – Trade and Transnational Corporations
  • Trade has been created and supported by international regulatory groups like World Trade Organizations, and agreements like the NA Free Trade Agreement. No country completely independent.
    • Without groups trade would be impractical. They regulate flow of goods and services between countries, reduce tariffs, and make customs easier.
    • Agreements often benefit private industries the most.
  • Companies that extend beyond borders of a country are called multinational/transnational corporations.
    • McDonalds, or General Electric. Half of employees working in other countries.
    • Some T&Cs have more weight than entire nations – influence economics/politics by donating money, and influence global trade laws.
  • 2 major impacts on country – on economy and culture. Much of economic globalization results from global market competition for cheap labour, and locating factories in cheapest locations.
    • Developing nations provide incentives like tax-free zones or cheap labour so T&Cs can bring jobs and industry to agricultural areas.
    • Negatives: Workers abroad exploited, and outsourcing can hurt core country.
    • Positive: Better allocation of resources, higher product output, more employment worldwide, cheaper prices. Cultural practices also passed and spread abroad – diffusion.

Social Movements

  • When a group of people come together with shared idea, can create lasting effects by shaping future of society.
    • Need organization, leadership, and resources to make an impact.
  • Activist movements aim to change some aspect of society, while regressive/reactionary movements resist change.
  • Several theories of why they form:
    • Mass Society Theory – Scepticism about groups, said they only form for people seeking refuge from main society. Ex. Nazism.
    • Relative Deprivation Theory – actions of groups oppressed/deprived of rights that others in society enjoy. Ex. Civil Rights Movement, a response to oppression to people of color. 3 things needed for social movement: relative deprivation, deserving better, and belief conventional methods are useless to help.
      • Criticisms: people who don’t feel deprived join social movement even if they don’t suffer themselves. And too risky for oppressed to join a movement due to lack of resources. And when all 3 present, no social movement created.
    • Resource Mobilization Theory – looks at social movements from different angle. Instead of looking at deprivation of people, focuses on factors that help/hinder a social movement like access to resources. Need money, materials, political influence, media, and strong organizational base to recruit members – charismatic figure needed.
      • Martin Luther King Jr. in Civil Rights Movement.
    • Rational Choice Theory – people compare pros and cons of different courses of actions and choose the one they think is best for themselves.
      • Have to assume all actions can be listed, and transient. Also assumes person has full knowledge of outcomes. Rarely all true.
    • Can cause widespread panics, crazes (fads, ex. the anti-vaccine movement).
    • Social movement begins with incipient stage (public takes notice). Will either succeed or have to adapt. In the end, become part of bureaucracy they try to change – become absorbed into institutions.
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