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A Global History of Historical Demography

Half a Century of Interdisciplinarity

Edited By Antoinette Fauve-Chamoux, Ioan Bolovan and Sølvi Sogner

At the XXIst World Congress of the International Committee of Historical Sciences (ICHS/CISH) in 2010 in Amsterdam, the International Commission for Historical Demography (ICHD) decided to write an overview of its own history. Fifty years had gone by since the CISH XIst World Congress in Stockholm 1960, when historians took the first tentative initiatives to create a wholly new interdisciplinary commission for historical demography, a meeting place for a budding discipline where researchers in letters and science could meet, exchange ideas, cultivate and develop a new field. This book is the outcome of that decision.

Demography, past, present and future is a common concern for all inhabitants of this planet. The variation is great, however, with regard to sources, social and political conditions, state of the art, technological development, national and local initiatives. In the course of half a century many changes take place. Keeping abreast of the gigantic streams of information and innovation in the field is demanding, even more so for a discipline with global dimensions and ambitions. The book makes fascinating reading, and preparing it has been a rewarding and thought provoking experience. The thirty-seven articles in the book represent as many different stories.

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32. Population History in Scotland: Opportunities Under-explored


Population History in Scotland: Opportunities Under-Explored


Introduction: Scotland and England are Different

The first compendium on population history published in English, (Glass and Eversley 1965), was divided into three sections: “General”, “Great Britain” and “Europe and the United States” – but, reflecting the minimal work on Scotland to that date, every chapter in the section on “Great Britain” was about England. Even more recently, however, many works on British population history still either ignore Scotland, or implicitly assume that Scotland’s record is broadly the same as England’s.

Yet work over the last fifty years has clearly shown that Scotland was, and is, very different from England. A separate nation until 1707, it has retained its own and often very different legal and religious codes, has always had its own systems of vital registration, and had its own Poor Law until 1948. Marked variation within the country in climate and geology, in landholding and tenurial practice, and in the locations and patterns of industrial and commercial change, have meant that Scotland has had a far greater internal differentiation in its demography than England (or, indeed, most other north-western European countries). Despite this diversity, however, we now know that fundamental aspects of Scotland’s population history are very different from England’s: the pervasiveness of emigration from what was one of Europe’s most industrialized countries; the twentieth century collapse of the population of Glasgow, its largest city; mortality which for long periods has been among...

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