Demography in the Early 21st Century: An Insight from French Doctoral Theses in Population Studies

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 9:06 AM
Room: Booth 54
Oral Presentation
Myriam DE LOENZIEN , IRD-CEPED, Paris, France
Armelle ANDRO , IDUP, France
Géraldine DUTHÉ , INED, France
Marie LESCLINGAND , Nice Sophia Antipolis University, France
French demographers have played a major role in the development of quantitative techniques in demography. More recently, population studies more opened to other social science disciplines and qualitative approaches have flourished in many countries. How does demography relate to population studies in recent doctoral studies in France? Which topic do these studies address? In which institutional context are they realized? To answer these questions, we draw on a database of doctoral theses defended in France during the last decade (2000-2012). This database has been built using the French Documentation University System and related indexing language. The topics are classified in 14 categories. Among 851 references, 746 theses have been selected and are analyzed using EXCEL, SAS and IRAMUTEQ software. Analyses performed include principal component analysis and textual analysis.

Results show that the number of doctoral theses per year is relatively constant, with fluctuations due to institutional constraints. Doctoral students are mostly female (55%). The concentration of researches in six main geographic poles reflects the structure of demography training. Demography is the main discipline (65%) followed by sociology, geography, political science and economy. Studies on mortality and health tend to involve more modeling and to be more associated with population structure whereas fertility is often analyzed in conjunction with family and sexuality and tends to more frequently adopt a gender perspective. By contrast, migration, which represents the most frequent topic, is more associated with culture, minorities, using qualitative approaches. It also addresses issues related to environment and territory.  This analysis provides insights into population studies boundaries as well as the way disciplines complement each other. In the longer term, our database should be completed with theses prior to 2000. It may participate in the constitution of a comparative international database of doctoral theses in population science.