TRANSMED - ETUDES TRANSDICIPLINAIRES SUR L’AVENIR DE LA MEDITERRANEE

Transformations in lifestyles in mediterranean countries : a sociological and demographic study – SODEMOMED

SoDeMoMed - Transformations in lifestyle in the Mediterranean – a sociological and demographic study

This programme examines the link between demographic transition and induced societal changes and how they materialise in the lifestyles of individuals, depending on their social characteristics, throughout their life cycles.

Demographic dynamics and social issues

Most demographic projections focused on countries within the Mediterranean highlight profound changes, more so in terms of structure – age groups, gender split, marital status, geographic spread - than in net growth. In some cases, emerging patterns challenge conventional make-ups (f.i. North/South divide) and draw an increasingly blurred picture of formerly very distinct cultures. At the same time, new challenges come to light: an ageing population, the evolving status of women in society, restricted access to employment and housing… In this context, the proposed cross-discipline research project (‘SODEMOMED’) aims to investigate the changes in lifestyle taking place in the Mediterranean from both the sociological and demographic viewpoints. Planned over a three year period, it encompasses three main areas of study as outlined below. Each investigates both the moving and static features of the social landscape in the Mediterranean, but also explores the widening and narrowing gaps between the varied social groups which constitute the target of our survey.

1) Our proposed approach explores changes in the cycle of life, mainly in view of the Mediterranean’s ageing population. It underlines the importance of demographic factors in understanding the main areas at stake within the social arena. Whilst acknowledging ageing as a social process in its own right, this research viewpoint investigates how each life stage is perceived and defined in different social groups and specifically between genders.
2) Our approach focuses on evolving dynamics between generations of the same family. Countries in the Mediterranean are not immune to the geneAral trend in multiple generation societies. At stake is the changing role and purpose of the individual in an increasingly complex social playing field, a phenomenon further exacerbated by difficult external conditions – unemployment, overcrowding…. The reality of the so-called ‘lynchpin’ generation is well documented. It describes a group of adults juggling their two-way interdependence with their parents on the one hand and their children on the other hand. This group faces more complex demands within the family network, faced with the elders’ increasing life expectancy and the barriers to entry encountered by both young and mature adults alike in the labour market.
3) Last angle investigates the changing status of women in both the private and public arenas, affected both by new forms of male dominance and evolving laws on men and women’s rights. Whilst recent years have shown a degree of convergence in the individual trajectories of men and women over the course of their lifetime, the social conventions affecting the one and other’s roles remain deeply entrenched. This latter angle makes the analysis of socio-demographic behaviours a fascinating focal point. It challenges to what extent democratic principles have permated the social fabric between men and women, but also brings to light the traits and inequalities that influence each group in their projected life path.

This programme is underlain by three research deliverables:
A - The creation of core documentation and spatialised demographic data (available on the Demomed web site).
B - A publication (published in both French & English) summarising and highlighting the methods of analysis specifically developed around the three areas of research.
C - The organisation of a scientific congress (or symposium) in 2016 with the topic: «Demographic data & transformations in lifestyles in the Mediterranean.«

In this research programme, the perspectives are threefold:
1/ Create a database that is both interactive and evolving, which is equally accessible to researchers and third party professionals seeking socio-demographic information on the Mediterranean (in its varied processing forms: charts, cartography, statistics).
2/ Build an analytical toolset organised around three confederate sociological arms (i.e. the 3 main structural arms of the programme) enabling the development of forecasting or prospective models of analysis.
3/ Build and strengthen an active network of pluridisciplinary researchers and institutional users focused on the main social questions addressed in this programme.

See: «Results« section below.

Most demographic projections focused on countries within the Mediterranean highlight profound changes, more so in terms of structure – age groups, gender split, marital status, geographic spread - than in net growth. In some cases, emerging patterns challenge conventional make-ups (f.i. North/South divide) and draw an increasingly blurred picture of formerly very distinct cultures. At the same time, new challenges come to light: an ageing population, the evolving status of women in society, restricted access to employment and housing… In this context, the proposed cross-discipline research project (‘SODEMOMED’) aims to investigate the changes in lifestyle taking place in the Mediterranean from both the sociological and demographic viewpoints. Planned over a three year period, it encompasses three main areas of study as outlined below. Each investigates both the moving and static features of the social landscape in the Mediterranean, but also explores the widening and narrowing gaps between the varied social groups which constitute the target of our survey.

The first angle of our proposed approach explores changes in the cycle of life, mainly in view of the Mediterranean’s ageing population. It underlines the importance of demographic factors in understanding the main areas at stake within the social arena. Whilst acknowledging ageing as a social process in its own right, this research viewpoint investigates how each life stage – youth, adulthood, ‘old age’ – is perceived and defined in different social groups and specifically between genders. Arguably there are marked differences in the way men and women approach adult life’s main events, how these are staged, and the course of their lives in their later years.

The second angle of our approach focuses on evolving dynamics between generations of the same family. Countries in the Mediterranean are not immune to the general trend in multiple generation societies, spurred by both the actual and expected increase in life expectancy. At stake is the changing role and purpose of the individual in an increasingly complex social playing field, a phenomenon further exacerbated by difficult external conditions – unemployment, overcrowding…. The reality of the so-called ‘lynchpin’ generation, first highlighted in the 1990s, is well documented. It describes a group of adults juggling their two-way interdependence with their parents on the one hand and their children on the other hand. This group faces more complex demands within the family network, faced with the elders’ increasing life expectancy and the barriers to entry encountered by both young and mature adults alike in the labour market.

The third and last angle investigates the changing status of women in both the private and public arenas, affected both by new forms of male dominance and evolving laws on men and women’s rights. At the dawn of the third millennium, more than ever the path towards gender equality remains uncertain. Whilst recent years have shown a degree of convergence in the individual trajectories of men and women over the course of their lifetime, as well as in their behaviours, the social conventions affecting the one and other’s roles remain deeply entrenched. This latter angle makes the analysis of socio-demographic behaviours (birth rates, fertility, marriage and divorce rates…) a fascinating focal point. It challenges to what extent democratic principles have permated the social fabric between men and women, but also brings to light the traits and inequalities that influence each group in their projected life path.

Project coordination

Thierry BLÖSS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifqiue Délégation Provence et Corse _ Laboratoire d'Economie et de Sociologie du Travail, UMR CNRS 7317, Aix-en-Provence, France) – thierry.bloss@univ-amu.fr

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.

Partner

MEMOTEF Université La Sapienza, Département "Méthodes et modèles pour l'économie, le territoire et la finance", Rome, Italie
CNRS DR12 _ MMSH Centre National de la Recherch Scientifique Délégation Provence et Corse _ Maison Méditerranéenne des Sciences de l’Homme, USR CNRS 3125, Aix-en-Provence, France
CNRS DR12 _ LEST Centre National de la Recherche Scientifqiue Délégation Provence et Corse _ Laboratoire d'Economie et de Sociologie du Travail, UMR CNRS 7317, Aix-en-Provence, France

Help of the ANR 351,270 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: August 2013 - 36 Months

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