Review of Myron Weiner and Michael S. Teitelbaum, Political Demography, Demographic Engineering

The emigration of young cohorts can also cause serious consequences such as violent conflict because of competition for resources and opportunities, ethnic conflict, strain on national and international security dimensions…


BY YAOREIPHY AWUNGSHI
WeinerPolitical_ordinaireme.wordpress.com
Political Demography, Democratic Engineering

The authors of this book have explicitly illustrated the demographic processes and its implications on state, security and politics, and also how the politics of the state and security in turn shaped the demographic character. The authors point out the lack of insights from political scientists in the analysis and examination of the changes and character of demography. The authors tries to explain the ‘political consequence of population of change’ in this book .

The book starts off with the projection of the demographic character of different countries of the world (which the authors classified as “less developed and industrial countries”), highlights both the ‘dystopic and utopian’ effect. Population growth can be seen both as an asset and as a source of threat. It also highlights the affect of the differentiation of population growth of different countries such on ‘age structure,’ and ‘youth bulges’.

The assumptive prediction of the youth bulges and its implications is provocative and finds essentially relevant in the contemporary scenario where ‘young cohorts’ are generally seen getting  engaged in many political and social movement expressing dissatisfaction on the state and seeking changes in the policies and structures of the state. The emigration of young cohorts can also cause serious consequences such as violent conflict because of competition for resources and opportunities, ethnic conflict, strain on national and international security dimensions, or the concerns of the issue of terrorism or health or the environmental concerns such as climate change etc.

The book has extensively illustrated the demographic structure and its consequences with relevant examples to make the reader easily connect with the theoretical conceptions they are making in every essays. However, the authors note the unpredictable nature of the population trend. The authors take the role of states in migration which is one variable of demographic process and they note that this is the only case the political scientist have actually taken a keen interest in the field of political demography. The collection of essays further discuss at length how the state policies actually impact the demographic structure and immigration policies. Issues of refugees and displaced people, illegal immigrants, dual citizenship etc. are in fact the reinforcement of the state on the population. Going further, the issue of settlement policies, welfare and condition of the diaspora depend on the policies and attitude of the emigrant and immigration states.

The theoretical analysis became more comprehensible with given examples such as Greeks settlement in Sicily, Romans in Normans in the conquered Saxon territories or the removal of France from Algeria etc. All these examples emphasised the importance of the state in shaping the demographic character.

The implications of change and distribution of demography is implicitly studied in the context of ethnic cleansing, migration and its linkage with security. Like the case of ‘population unmixing,’ which the author used for ethnic cleansing, which is a state induced phenomena. The case of ethnic cleansing of the Yugoslavia in 1990s, or the disaster of the Jews in the Nazi Germany or the Lebanese civil war where Christians fought against Christians, and many examples given from various regions from Asia to Europe to Africa, so as to make the reader relate with the real situations.

The authors assumed that such consequences can be because of the role and strategy of the state or because of the various historical factors like the static and the assumed homogeneity of the population within a particular community or state. Because of such perception migrants are often perceived as element of threat to the communal cohesiveness.

Myron Weiner who worked on this essay extensively could not see the publication of this book, as he succumbed to his brain tumour in 1999. His co–author Michael Teitelbaum completes the book and brings out the publication in 2001. The book reflects the serious concerns and interest of the authors in demography and its various consequences, it instills the basic theoretical conceptions of demographic character, nature and the implications of politics in demographic analysis.


*Political Demography, Demographic Engineering, 2001, Myron Weiner and Michael S. Teitelbaum, Berghahn Books, New York.

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One thought on “Review of Myron Weiner and Michael S. Teitelbaum, Political Demography, Demographic Engineering

  1. Just read the review and found it really interesting. It’s short and can give what the book really is about. Keep it up Yaorei 🙂

    Like

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