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Rainer Mackensen (2000)

The Past and Future of Demography as a Science*

In: Zeitschrift für Bevölkerungswissenschaft, Vol. 25, 3-4/2000, p. 399-429, Opladen: Verlag Leske + Budrich, ISSN: 0340-2398

If, in the development of a discipline, one distinguishes between contents and objectives, instead of a process of ongoing increase in knowledge, a development of consecutive differing objectives becomes apparent; these have a significant influence on the contents, theories and methods of the discipline. Demography has developed very well indeed under the umbrella of economics; since however economics no longer need demography, demography has followed the euphoria of natural science and accepted a biological paradigm. In order to get away from this, it has refined its set of mathematical and statistical tools; however, this still holds a biological preference at its core. The time has come for demography to opt for a new, humanitarian research programme in order to train itself for new tasks.

* Original title: Vergangenheit und Zukunft der Demographie als Wissenschaft (full text in German only)

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