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SOC103H1 Lecture2

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SOC 103 – Lecture 2: Cities, Populations and Environments  Demography: flow of people in societies, places etc. – Births, Deaths, Migration 3 important generalizations about Social Units  Big social units work differently than small units  All social units that are changing very rapidly tend to function and have different problems than slow changing social units i.e. a classroom in which there is no change in the students who are there in the entire year vs. a classroom with new students who come in and leave throughout o You will find a much different social unit—affect all kinds of things in social life that make our life more productive because you cant do those things when there is rapid change i.e. form relationships  Heterogeneous social units are different than homogeneous o I.e. One classroom where everyone has the same background vs. one with people of several backgrounds histories and ethnicities etc. o You will see the difficulty in creating activities etc.  The same is true for all social units Life Today on Planet Earth  The science of demography theorizes how the composition of the population affects how society works o Populating Size o Population Change (via births deaths migrations) o Population Composition o How population change affects size and composition * 6% of all people who have ever lived are still alive today Population Growth is an Issue in many societies  Overpopulation o What size is too big for the world? o Nobody has really answered o To demographers this is a stupid question  Demographers don’t think population size works in that way  Among environmentalists, there is a belief on the population that can live in the natural environment (carrying capacity)  Very hard to put a number on this question  There is a general sense that there could possibly come a time that there could be too many people for the natural capacity  People who don’t like the notion of overpopulation often say that population has grown but as you increase the number of people you increase the number of geniuses o I.e. new technologies and new ways of producing food and health Rapid population growth is also an issue in many societies  Population growth vs. population size  The real problem is the rate at which we become bit  If you become big very rapidly (as a society/institution) you have a hard time adjusting your society/institution to suit your population.  Populations with the highest growth rate also tend to be populations that are the poorest and most advantaged  In underdeveloped societies there are shortages of certain resources and there is real population pressure  Population pressure also affects human life in various ways, including crowding Other important population issues in various societies today  Big concern in much of the western world (esp. in Canada) – Aging population o Non-retirement of older workers o The excess of unemployed young men  The selection and assimilation of immigrants  The shortage of marriage partners  Young women turn out better than women in these sorts of issues (i.e. shortage of jobs) – young men can turn violent  If you rely on immigrants to keep society alive – which immigrants, how do you assimilate etc.?  This poses a huge problem, in Canada we haven’t figured it out, how to select the correct people in order to flourish Thomas Malthus 1766-1834: The first population theorist  His father was a utopian socialist  He was very interested in social change, redistribution, in order to solve poverty o To him the solution was to re-distribute the wealth  Malthus’ agenda was not primarily to talked bout population issues, but it was what he was remembered for  He wanted to show his father that you cannot solve the problem of poverty through re-distribution—hate letter to his father  Malthus was ingenious in collecting together the small amount of material in his time to draw conclusions from pretty weak data and to make such rigorous assumption  To him, human beings having sex in a natural way, multiplies the world’s population exponentially  Food can only grow linearly  Any geometric series will string and arithmetic series no matter the rate of growth Positive and Preventive Checks  According to Malthus, positive checks on population included disease, famine and war  Preventive checks included delayed marriage and abstinence o He was a religious minister therefore did not believe in abortion and contraceptives o So from his standpoint, the only way to control population is to control marriage o You couldn’t control marriage without controlling access to income Malthus didn’t know that population growth slows with industrialization  The age in which you get married is not a very good predictor of how many children you will have  In industrial societies, people devise ways of having babies despite food issues in society  Therefore Malthus is proved wrong  Industrialization and more prosperity  Voluntary Birth Control  Biggest element is motivation Birth rates and Death rates Decline  According to the demographic transition theory, a decline in the birth rate follows a decline in the death rate  This happened in Europe then through out the world o Death rate started to fall in Europe – improvement in medication large scale efforts to control infections and epidemic o About a generation or so later, very rapid decline in birth rate o Various explanations for this  Once death rates fall you know you don’t need to have 6 children so that 2 survive, you don’t have to create 6 children anymore – then go about ensuring that they create only 2  In modern societies people are less motivated to have lots of children because they are a net loss  Changing patterns of lifestyle in modern societies World Population Since 1750  Back in 1750, there were only 800 million people, today 7 billion—explosion of people, especially in developing countr
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