Theories of socio-demographic change

ldemo2130  2020-2021  Louvain-la-Neuve

Theories of socio-demographic change
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the information below is subject to change, in particular that concerning the teaching mode (presential, distance or in a comodal or hybrid format).
5 credits
30.0 h
Main themes
The main topics are the following:
General elements of terminology (theory, explanation, causality, level of analysis, conceptual framework, etc.) ;
The main contemporary paradigms, from hard-line Malthusianism to anti-Malthusianism ;
Theories of demographic transition, from old to recent forms ;
The main theoretical approaches to fertility, classifications and typologies ;
Factors associated to nuptiality ;
Explanatory theories of mortality ;
An insight at the theoretical field in internal and international migrations ;
Interests, difficulties and limits of general or universal theories.

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :

1. Master theories and explanations in the field of social and economic demography, to develop a critical view on the related literature, ability to build hypotheses, and to interpret changes.

The contribution of this Teaching Unit to the development and command of the skills and learning outcomes of the programme(s) can be accessed at the end of this sheet, in the section entitled “Programmes/courses offering this Teaching Unit”.
This course addresses the broad challenge of understanding, explaining and theorizing in demography. At the end of the course, students will be able to:
  • Identify the major theories, doctrines and explanatory approaches specific to each major demographic phenomenon (fertility, union formation, mortality, migration, urbanization) or population-development relations;
  • Identify the causal relationships between variables;
  • Identify the advantages and disadvantages of micro, meso and macro analysis levels;
  • Help identify one or the other theoretical or explanatory approach for the Master's dissertation.
Teaching methods

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the information in this section is particularly likely to change.

The active pedagogy method is based on just-in-time teaching, work on small groups, and interactions via an online tool (Wooclap).
Evaluation methods

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the information in this section is particularly likely to change.

The 7 intermediate works are to be posted on the Wednesday before the course, at 4 pm at the latest. They are evaluated on 20 and contribute to the final score with a weight of 0.05 each.
The critical reading of an article presents a theory related to the subject of the dissertation, accompanied by a proposal of 5-6 empirical articles related to the subject of the dissertation. This work is rated out of 20 and contributes to the final grade with a weight of 0.05.
The 2 oral presentation sessions will focus on a theoretical article and on the progress of the final work. Each presentation is evaluated on 20 and contributes to the final score with a weight of 0.05. The evaluation criteria of the oral presentation (15 min) are:
  • Clarity of the oral presentation and the slide show
  • Quality of the presentation.
  • Conclusion and answers to questions and criticisms
The written work is rated on 20 and it contributes to the final grade with a weight of 0.50. Each of the (5) parts of the work will be evaluated according to criteria of clarity and quality of the analysis.
Other information
Introduction to demography (SPED 1211) is recommended.
COVID-19 : 
In yellow code, the auditorium is large enough to accommodate all the students in person. However, if the number of students is larger than expected or if the orange code is applied, then the teaching will switch to a comodal format (half of the cohort in the classroom, the other half in distance learning, alternately from one week to the next).
Regardless of the teaching mode, the evaluation mode remains the same. Classroom exercises are adapted to sanitation rules.
Online resources
Presentations and other resources are available on MoodleUCL.
Bibliographie mise à disposition à chaque séance en fonction du thème abordée.
Bibliography available at each session depending on the theme.
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Master [120] en anthropologie

Master [120] en sociologie

Master [120] en histoire

Master [120] en journalisme

Master [120] en sciences de la population et du développement

Master [120] en communication

Master [120] en sciences psychologiques

Master [120] en éthique

Master de spécialisation en études de genre

Master [120] en philosophie