5th Conference Of The European Society Of Historical Demography
From the prehistorical migrations to our globalized world, humankind has always been confronted with “others”, who are spontaneously compared to “us”. First, it usually implies a fascination for differences, often – but not always followed by a discovery of commonalities. Demographic thought has been, and still is, heavily influenced by the Malthusian discourse that insisted on the differences be-tween Europeans and the others, and the superiority of the former over the latter. Conversely, almost two centuries later the nuclear hardship theory suggested a greater efficiency of the complex family systems over the nuclear model predominant in Europe. It is now time for new approaches that challenge the past narratives. New approaches that, instead of binary oppositions and hypothetical hierarchies, consider equally similarities and dissimilarities, recognize the ambiguity of borders, reciprocal influences, and the importance not only of external but also internal diversity within the compared populations. Ultimately such studies contribute to a better understanding of demographic regimes and family dynamics.
With this in mind, the 5th ESHD conference leading theme is ‘The Challenge of Comparing Across Space and Time’. Participants are encouraged to engage with and link across three different streams of historical social science analysis:
- Data and methods for comparative approaches in historical demography and family history
- Benefits and pitfalls of comparisons
- The diversity of demographic behaviours and Family dynamics across space and time