85. szám // 2021. Globalizációtörténeti megközelítések
The Problem of Demographic Transition: Possible Interpretations of a Global Process
In recent decades, social science The study explores the process of demographic transition and its possible interpretations from the perspective of the history of globalization. The descriptive
part of the study focuses on changes in Central Europe, as well as recent and new research findings which suggest an incomplete period of decrease both in birth and mortality rates. The author then moves on to examine the interpretations of the reasons for this phenomenon, highlighting their social and economic diversity, and especially the role of cultural diffusion. The third part is dedicated to current research trends, which stresses the increasing necessity of connecting macro- and micro-level research. Based on this, the author states that even though joint meetings, problem statements and debates exist, most of the heroic results of the last four decades was individual achievement rather than the result of collaboration between disciplines. The historic portrayal of society evidently does not lend itself to a priori approaches, since the grand overarching models omit exactly those local characteristics and nuanced transitions, which do not necessarily affect the summary findings, but often reveal details which gain significance under the minute scrutiny of historians. In the latter case, however, the global perspective is at risk, whereby the fixity of the interpretation of findings only allows the extrapolation of the particular with relative certainty. From a global angle, the theory of demographic transition denotes the sum or a shared set of possible demographic behaviors. Thus it is an ideal type, which reflects an easily defined transformation, while acknowledging a number of variants of local factors. The variants—that is the characteristics of various local processes—do not emerge out of the comparison of settlements located far away from each other, outside the possible boundaries of cultural diffusion. They become understandable by connecting both the similarities and differences arising from a closely reflective shift in scale.