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Demographic Transition Theory: A Neglected Aspect of the Nomadism-Sedentarism Continuum
Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers
Vol. 11, No. 2 (1986), pp. 199-211
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/622006
Page Count: 13
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Many nomadic societies in Third World countries are becoming sedentary. The associated changes in mode of production result in a social transformation that may carry significant demographic consequences. An adaptation of demographic transition theory to the nomadism-sedentarism continuum is proposed by treating demographic change as transition between demographic regimes associated with specific modes of production and suggesting that fertility increases and later declines, and mortality decreases along the continuum. Rising fertility during sedentarization is assumed to be a consequence of both social modernization and economic growth, which complement conventional theoretical statements. Data from several countries, along with a case study from Israel, suggest that birth rates do increase along the continuum but their decline at post-sedentarization, although possible, will depend on trends in the general rural sector. In several cases, mortality rates of sedentarizing nomads have been found to be higher than for nomads, suggesting deficient public health measures. Nevertheless, natural increase rates of sedentarizing nomads are considerably higher than those of pastoral nomads. This adaptation may help to achieve the goals of filling a gap in demographic transition theory and providing a conceptual framework for future research of more detailed and specific case studies.
Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers © 1986 The Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers)