Sociology and New York

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972 death and dying
article argued that a policy of simply making
contraception available to women will not be
successful because fertility will decline substantially only if there are fundamental changes in features of social organization that determine
the motivation to bear children. The article
was lauded by conservatives and berated by
liberals, despite the explicitly stated corollary,
and essentially feminist argument, that achieving the goal of sharply reduced fertility would better be achieved by policies making educational, occupational, and income opportunities for women equal to those of men. Davis

continued to contribute to understanding
changes in the family, economy, and women’s
roles at the University of Southern California
(1977–92), most notably in ‘‘Wives and Work:
The Sex Role Revolution and its Consequences’’ (1984).
Davis’s early interest in cities and urbanization also was abiding. Prominent among his contributions were ‘‘The Origin and Growth
of Urbanization in the World’’ (1955), ‘‘Colonial
Expansion and Urban Diffusion in the Americas’’ (1960), ‘‘World Urbanization 1950–1970’’ (V. 1, 1969; V. 2, 1972), Cities: Their Origin,
Growth, and Human Impact (1973), and ‘‘Asia’s
Cities: Problems and Options’’ (1975). In the
final years of his career at the Hoover Institution
(from 1981 until his death on February 27,
1997), Davis organized conferences and edited
books addressing causes, consequences, and
policies for below-replacement fertility in
industrial societies (1987) and the connections
linking resources, environment, and population change (1991). Davis’s creativity and the breadth of his
influence in academia, in the Washington policy
community, and the discourse of the general
public are reflected in the terms demographic
transition, population explosion, and zero population growth which he coined, and in the honor bestowed upon him as the first sociologist to
be elected to the US National Academy of
Sciences. As one of the giants among twentieth-century social scientists, Kingsley Davis’s legacy to scholarly and public discourse will
endure for generations to come.
SEE ALSO: Demographic Transition Theory;
Economic Development; Family Planning,
Abortion, and Reproductive Health; Fertility

and Public Policy; Function; Industrial Revolution; Malthus, Thomas Robert; Stratification and Inequality, Theories of; Structural Functional Theory; Urbanization

REFERENCES AND SUGGESTED
READINGS
Davis, K. (1949) Human Society. Macmillan, New
York.
Davis, K. (1963) The Theory of Change and
Response in Modern Demographic History. Population Index 29(4): 345–66. Davis, K. (1974) The Migration of Human Populations. Scientific American 231. Heer, D. M. (2003) Davis, Kingsley. In: Demeny, P.

& McNicoll, G. (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Population.
Macmillan Reference, New York.
Heer, D. M. (2004) Kingsley Davis: A Biography and
Selections from his Writings. Transaction, London.
Peterson, W. (1979) Davis, Kingsley. In: Sills, D. L.
(Ed.), International Encyclopedia of the Social
Sciences. Free Press, New York.

death and dying
Deborah Carr
Sociology of death and dying is the study of the
ways that values, beliefs, behavior, and institutional arrangements concerning death are structured by social environments and contexts.
Although death is a universal human experience, societal responses to death vary according to cultural attitudes toward death, as well as
contextual factors including the primary causes
of death, and normative age at which death
occurs.
Conceptualizations of and practices surrounding death in the United States have come full circle over the past two centuries. In the
eighteenth century, death was public and visible. Death tended to occur at a relatively young age, at home, and due to infectious diseases that
could not be ‘‘cured.’’ The loss of a loved one
was expressed by dramatic displays of grief
among survivors, and elaborate efforts to...
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