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Global South Powers in Transition

A Comparative Analysis of Mexico and South Africa

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Edited By Deon Geldenhuys and Humberto González

Employing a novel collaborative transnational methodology, this ground-breaking book presents the first comprehensive and systematic comparison of Mexico and South Africa. Although geographically, historically and diplomatically far apart, Mexico and South Africa are ambitious and influential powers in the Global South and also experience wide-ranging domestic transitions. A binational team of 26 researchers from the two countries, all specialists in their respective disciplines, probe the transitions that Mexico and South Africa are undergoing in areas such as socio-cultural diversity, domestic politics, economic development, labour dynamics, social and territorial inequality, food security, crime and violence, and foreign relations. The detailed country studies allow the authors to identify striking similarities but also profound differences between the two societies. In so doing, the book helps to explain Mexico and South Africa to each other but also to the world at large.

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CHAPTER 2 Demographic dynamics: transitions, heterogeneity and mobility

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CHAPTER 2

Demographic dynamics: transitions, heterogeneity and mobility

General introduction

Eunice D. Vargas-Valle, Telésforo Ramírez-García and Tapiwa Chagonda

During the latter decades of the 20th century and the first decade of the new millennium, the Mexican and South African populations have undergone important transformations as a result of medical advances, pandemics and a set of economic, socio-cultural and political processes. In this chapter, we describe the dynamics of Mexican and South African populations and discuss their similarities and differences. Although these two countries belong to different economic regions of the Global South, both face similar population challenges in the context of globalisation: they must solve their old population problems linked to structural inequalities and at the same time they face new population dynamics associated with socio-economic change, crises and adjustments.

The intervention of nation states in population growth and distribution has been linked to the political and economic history of both countries. During the first stage, populating the vast territories of each country was one of the goals of nation states, and population growth and increasing survivorship were viewed as a way to block new colonisers and fuel national economic development (Reyna 1998). The second era in population policies had a reductionist perspective, which was reflected in Mexico’s family planning programmes in 1974. This responded to the international awareness of an indirect link between population growth and economic development (Miro 1998).

It is clear that...

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