Demographic Avant-garde: A Historical Demography Perspective on Jews in Bohemia
VID & Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital
Date: Wed, December 7 2011, Time: 10:00 - 11:00
The presentation examines changes in the demographic behaviour and social position of Jews in Bohemia during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It contributes to the literature linking demographic development and modernization, minority studies, and studies of the determinants of demographic transition in different times and contexts. I give a historical account of the Jewish demographic behavior as compared to the larger Bohemian population. Jews were avant-garde in terms of lower fertility, lower mortality (especially of infants) and, after the historic abolishment of legal restrictions against them in 1848, also in the speed and pace of their urbanisation and upward social mobility. All this led to a demographic transition that came much earlier than among the majority population. But during the interwar period, Jewish demographic behaviour became increasingly similar to that of the majority population in same socio-economic class, thus morphing the Jewish demographic avant-garde into a more general „higher social-class“ avant-garde. The presentation details these processes and their timing and aims to search for key historical and social interdependences.
About the presenter
Jana Vobecká obtained her PhD in demography jointly at the University of Burgundy in Dijon and Charles University in Prague. She has joined the Vienna Institute of Demography as a Junior Researcher in 2011, having previously been a researcher at the Institute of Sociology of the Czech Academy of Sciences. Her research combines sociology and demography and focuses inter alia on historical demography and on spatial population dynamics and its effects on social inequalities and local governance. She is currently writing a book manuscript on historical demography of the Jews in Bohemia and has published in journals such as Population Space and Place, Czech Sociological Review and Central European Journal of Public Policy.