Article

Why and How Population Matters

David Levine

in The Oxford Handbook of Contextual Political Analysis

Published in print March 2006 | ISBN: 9780199270439
Published online September 2009 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199270439.003.0032

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Political Science

 Why and How Population Matters

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This article describes the importance of population in politics. It describes some events to show the political relevance of population. These include the Black Death and the end of feudalism in England, the plague and the rise of the Florentine City-state, and the re-creation of religious identities because of pestilential fury and cultural despair. This article concludes that population matters to political processes not as an exogenous force but as a constitutive element of social life. It explains that anyone who treats fluctuations in fertility, mortality, nuptiality, morbidity, or migration as if they occurred outside of politics or prior to politics misses one of demography's great contributions to social analysis which is the demonstration that even subtle alterations in social arrangements translate immediately into demographic effects that reshape human capacities and opportunities for political action.

Keywords: population; politics; Black Death; feudalism; England; Florentine City-state; religious identities; pestilential fury; cultural despair; political action

Article.  10403 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Comparative Politics ; Political Behaviour

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