Rebecca Sear

Consilience in demography: the costs and benefits of an interdisciplinary approach

Abstract: Demography is an ‘object’ science, driven not by an overarching theoretical framework but by the need to explain demographic phenomena, and has drawn on a range of disciplines to do so. This talk will use the example of evolutionary demography to illustrate the costs and benefits of such an interdisciplinary approach, highlighting both the usefulness of applying different perspectives to the same phenomena, and the dangers inherent in trying to incorporate different academic languages. The conclusion of the talk is that an interdisciplinary approach is vital to developing strong theories and for the future of an ‘object’ discipline such as demography.