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Population and the Environment: Analytical Demography and Applied Population Ethics/CarolineBledsoe

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Notes by user Caroline Bledsoe (Northwestern Univ.) for Population and the Environment: Analytical Demography and Applied Population Ethics

Post-meeting Reflection

With climate change, we appear to be entering into an era of partial and flawed awareness, on the parts of scholars as well as the public, of changes in natural forces bigger than we knew existed. Sociologist Ulrich Beck (2015) captures the dilemma this represents: "The idea that we are masters of the universe has totally collapsed and has turned into its opposite." How can we grasp the scale and character of these changes both in the environment and in the social world in categories we do not yet have, and at scales that are beyond our imagination?

Through what cultural frames – whether expressed through local, international, legal or scientific idioms – can we best grasp how people are responding to what we might see as dangerous climate change and the best solutions to it?  While easy answers to these questions are illusive, findings from analogous studies – child fosterage, Western contraceptive use, and migration from West Africa to Europe and the US – may be brought to bear to address some of the principles on which they seem to rest.

Among the biggest puzzles in debates about climate change is why so many people support policies and politicians that appear to undermine their own best interests.  These have been identified across the world, including in the US, where advocates for science in climate studies and action find themselves locked in battle with climate-change deniers.  While these things can be addressed under classic rubrics of rationality, questions of meaning, nature, and what we tend to take for granted are equally important.

Reference material notes

Reference Materials

Title Author name Source name Year Citation count From Scopus. Refreshed every 5 days. Page views Related file
Emancipatory catastrophism: What does it mean to climate change and risk society? Ulrich Beck Current Sociology 2015 65 0
Chesapeake requiem earl swift chesapeake requiem 0 7
Reproductive Mishaps and Western Contraception: An African Challenge to Fertility Theory 0 5

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Co-evolution of population and environment - perceiving climate change and its impacts on reproduction and migration

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