Checking date: 30/05/2024

Course: 2024/2025

Contemporary theories and demographic challenges
Dual Bachelor in Political Science and Sociology (Plan: 406 - Estudio: 247)


Department assigned to the subject: Social Analysis Department

Type: Compulsory
ECTS Credits: 6.0 ECTS


Requirements (Subjects that are assumed to be known)
It is not necessary to have previous knowledge of any specific subject.
The main objective of this course is to become familiar with the relationship between population, natural resources and environment. The students will develop knowledge and abilities in looking for information using databases of different institutions like libraries, internet, public institutions and so on) They will be able to evaluate ecological and social costs and benefits (present and forthcoming). They will analyze the main concepts about human society. They will learn how to identify the relationship among different demographic phenomena in one side and social and economic reality and public policies in the other (causes and consequences of the decline of fertility, the aging of population and the migration processes among others).
Skills and learning outcomes
Description of contents: programme
The course analyzes the main demographic phenomena and develops the explanatory theories regarding the relationship between the different demographic variables and economic, social and environmental factors. The ethical implications of the demographic policies carried out in the last century are also examined. 1. Size, growth and spatial location of the world population. 2. History of demographic theories: ancient and medieval works, mercantilists and physiocrats, Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Karl Marx, mathematical theories. 3. Relationship between demographic growth and economic development: - Pessimists: Kingsley Davis, Ansley Coale, Edgar Hoover, the World Bank - Neutrals: Richard Easterlin, the US National Academy of Sciences. - Optimists: the French school, Simon Kuznets, Ester Boserup, the Chicago School of Economics, Julian Simon, the Austrian School of Economics. - Analysis of data that confirms or refutes the different theories presented. 4. The fertility transition and changes in family structures: - Historical evolution of different indicators - Notable sociodemographic events: the baby boom, the baby bust, the effect of nuptiality, fertility and immigration, aging fertility, adoptions, assisted reproduction and surrogate wombs, births outside of marriage, infertility, the difficult transition to the second child , gap between reproductive desires and realities, contraception and abortion, second demographic transition: the weakening of the traditional family - Causes of the historical fall in fertility 5. The transition of health and mortality: - Historical evolution of mortality levels (the Preston curve) and analysis of its causes. - Analysis of mortality according to age (rectangularization of the survival curve) and sex. 6. Changes in the structure of populations according to age and sex: - The aging of Western countries - Demographic dividend - Impact of migratory flows on the structure of populations - Aging and the Welfare State (pay-as-you-go pension systems and public healthcare) - Sex imbalances caused by female feticide and infanticide 7. Demographic growth and availability of natural resources - The neo-Malthusian pessimists: Garret Hardin, Paul Ehrlich, the Club of Rome, the United Nations, Al Gore, the ecomesías, degrowth. - The Cornucopians: Julian Simon, George Reisman - Population growth and food availability - Analysis of data that confirms or refutes the different theories presented. 8. Demographic growth and environment: - The environmental movement and the demographic brake as an environmental protection strategy - Environmental protection through the free market - Data on the evolution of environmental indicators - Anthropogenic global warming? Analysis of competing perspectives 9. International migration flows: - X-ray of international migrations - Explanatory theories of the beginning of migratory flows - Explanatory theories of the maintenance of migratory flows - Openness, key to the success of humanity - Economic consequences of international migratory flows for host countries: employment, income, labor mobility, productivity - Immigration and the Welfare State: threat or support? Fiscal impact of immigration and foreign currency remittances - The need for highly skilled and unskilled immigrant labor - The cost of human lives of the migration process - Economic consequences of international migration for the countries of origin - Immigration and crime 10. Demographic policies: - The origins of the movement in favor of population control (Malthus, Spencer, Galton, eugenics) - Neoeugenics - The role of the United States in promoting population control policies - The one-child policy in China - Other demographic control programs: India, Bangladesh, Peru - Public and private institutions that promote demographic control: United Nations, World Bank, large private foundations. - The teachings of different religions regarding demographic matters (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism)
Learning activities and methodology
The theoretical component is comprised of classes taught by lecturers, which will promote classroom discussion about the interplay between demographic processes and their causes and socioeconomic and cultural consequences (falling fertility, aging, immigration, etc.). The aim of the discussions is that students become aware of these interactions (this corresponds to 2 ECTS). The practical component of the course will be to familiarize students with the main sources of demographic information, including databases and Internet resources, readings and exhibitions, in order to enhance their abilities to conduct independent research. Students will also be trained on the design of tables and charts useful to describe and summarize demographic processes (this corresponds to 2 ECTS). Individual student work that is embodied in the study of the subject, attending tutorials, consulting texts and exams library will correspond to 2 ECTS.
Assessment System
  • % end-of-term-examination 50
  • % of continuous assessment (assigments, laboratory, practicals...) 50

Calendar of Continuous assessment

Extraordinary call: regulations
Basic Bibliography
  • Carter, G.. Population and Society: An Introduction. Polity. 2016
  • Fernando Manzano & Guillermo Velázquez. POBLACIÓN Y ECONOMÍA RECORRIDO HISTÓRICO DEL ESTADO DEL ARTE. Instituto de Geografía, Historia y Ciencias Sociales (IGEHCS) Universidad Nacional del Centro / CONICET. 2018
  • Norberg, Johan . Progreso. 10 razones para mirar al futuro con optimismo. Deusto. 2017
  • Oso, Laura · López-Sala, Ana · Muñoz Comet, Jacobo. Sociología de las migraciones. Síntesis. 2023
  • Pierre Desrochers, Joanna Szurmak . Population Bombed!: Exploding the Link Between Overpopulation and Climate Change. The Global Warming Policy Foundation. 2018
  • Poston, D. y Bouvier, L.. Population and Society An Introduction to Demography. Cambridge University Press . 2012
  • Steven Pinker y Pablo Hermida Lazcano . En defensa de la Ilustración: Por la razón, la ciencia, el humanismo y el progreso . Paidós. 2018
  • Sánchez Barricarte, Jesús Javier. El crecimiento de la población mundial: implicaciones socioeconómicas, ecológicas y éticas. Tirant lo Blanch. 2008
  • Sánchez Barricarte, Jesús Javier. Socioeconomía de las migraciones en un mundo globalizado. Biblioteca Nueva. 2010
  • Tupy, Marian L. and Pooley, Gale L.. Superabundance: The Story of Population Growth, Innovation, and Human Flourishing on an Infinitely Bountiful Planet. Cato Institute.. 2022
  • United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. Global Population Growth and Sustainable Development. UN DESA/POP/2021/TR/NO. 2.. Naciones Unidas. 2021
Additional Bibliography
  • Bailey, Ronald y Tupy, Marian L. . Ten Global Trends Every Smart Person Should Know: And Many Others You Will Find Interesting. ¿Cato Institute. 2020
  • Desrochers, Pierre and Szurmak, Joanna . Population Bombed!: Exploding the Link Between Overpopulation and Climate Change. The Global Warming Policy Foundation. 2018
  • EHRLICH, P. y EHRLICH, A.. La explosión demográfica. El principal problema ecológico. Barcelona: Salvat. 1994
  • Epstein, Alex. La cuestión moral de los combustibles fósiles. Deusto. . 2021
  • FONDO DE POBLACIÓN DE LAS NACIONES UNIDAS. Estado de la población mundial. Nueva York: Naciones Unidas. 2008
  • GORE, A.. La Tierra en juego. Ecología y conciencia humana. Barcelona: Emecé Editores. 1993
  • GORE, A.. An inconvenient truth. The planetary emergency of global warming and what we can do about. Emmaus, Pa.: Rodale Press.. 2006
  • Huerta de Soto, Jesús. Socialism, Economic Calculation and Entrepreneurship. Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd. 2010
  • NACIONES UNIDAS. Crecimiento de la población y desarrollo económico, Cuadernos de la CEPAL nº 75. Santiago de Chile: Naciones Unidas.. 1996
  • Norberg, Johan . Progress: Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future. 2017. Oneworld Publications
  • Pinker, Steven . Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress. Hodder And Stoughton. 2018
  • REQUES VELASCO, P.. Población, recursos y medioambiente: ¿el fin de los mitos?. Santander: Servicio de publicaciones de la Universidad de Canta. 2001
  • Ridley, Matt . How Innovation Works: And Why It Flourishes in Freedom. Harper. 2020
  • Rosling, Hans; Rosling, Ola and Rönnlund, Anna Rosling. Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About The World - And Why Things Are Better Than You Think. Sceptre. 2018
  • SIMON, J.. El último recurso. Madrid: Dossat. 1986
  • Tupy, Marian L. and Pooley, Gale L. . Superabundance: The Story of Population Growth, Innovation, and Human Flourishing on an Infinitely Bountiful Planet. Cato Institute. 2022
  • Zamora Bonilla, Jesús . Contra apocalípticos. Shackleton books. 2021

The course syllabus may change due academic events or other reasons.