Kingsley Davis

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Kingsley Davis
Born (1908-08-20)August 20, 1908
Jones County, Texas
Died February 27, 1997(1997-02-27) (aged 88)
Stanford, California

Kingsley Davis (August 20, 1908 – February 27, 1997) was an internationally recognized American sociologist and demographer. He was identified by the American Philosophical Society as one of the most outstanding social scientists of the twentieth century, and was a Hoover Institution senior research fellow. He led and conducted major studies of societies in Europe, South America, Africa and Asia, coined the term "population explosion,", and played a major role in the naming and development of the demographic transition model.[1][2] He is also credited with coining the term "zero population growth" [3][4] although George Stolnitz claimed to have that distinction.[5] Davis had several children while espousing limitations on childbearing world-wide. Davis also published an influential article with Wilbert E. Moore entitled "Some Principles of Stratification,"[6] which was a very influential functionalist account of the reasons for social inequality. Davis and Moore synthesize Durkheim and Parsons to argue for the "functional necessity" of some positions over others: those that are highest paid go to the most deserving individuals; at the same time, the differential rewards motivates individuals to work to fill positions they might otherwise not. Thus, from this perspective, illness is a deviant state because it means that the individual may not be able to fill their role. Sociologists see this article as a paradigmatic case of functionalist logic, and indeed, Davis came to be a leading figure in this school of sociology.[7]

Davis got his Ph.D. from Harvard University and taught at Smith College, Clark University, Pennsylvania State University, Princeton University, Columbia University, the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Southern California.[8]

The demographer was internationally recognized for his expertise in world population growth and resources, the history and theory of international migration, world urbanization, demographic transition and population policy.[9]

Among his other accomplishments, Davis

Davis won the Irene B. Taeuber Award for outstanding research in demography (1978), the Common Wealth Award for distinguished work in sociology (1979), and the Career of Distinguished Scholarship Award from the American Sociological Association (1982).[10]

Kingsley Davis was a prolific scholar who published numerous research articles, book chapters and books. The latter include

  • "Youth in the Depression" (University of Chicago Press, 1935)
  • "World Population in Transition" (American Academy of Political and Social Science, 1945)
  • "Human Society" (MacMillan, 1949)
  • "Modern Society" (Rinehart, 1949)
  • "The Population of India and Iraq" (Princeton University Press, 1951)
  • "Population and Progress in Haiti" (Council on Foreign Relations, 1951)
  • "The American Class Structure" (with J. Kahl; Rinehart, 1959)
  • "A Structural analysis of Kinship" (Arno, 1960)
  • "India's Urban Future" (with R. Turner; University of Michigan, 1961)
  • "Population Policy and Economic Development" (Stanford Research Institute, 1961)
  • "The psychology of Human Fertility" (Basil Blackwell, 1963)
  • "The Population Impact on Children in the World's Agrarian Countries" (Institute of International Studies, 1965)
  • "Cities" (Knopf, 1965)
  • "California's Twenty Million" (with F. Stylkes; University of California, 1971)
  • "World Urbanization 1950-1970" (Institute of International Studies, 1972)
  • "Cities: Their Origin, Growth and Human Impact" (Freeman, 1973)
  • "Below Replacement Fertility in Industrial Societies" (with others; Cambridge University Press, 1987)
  • "Population and Resources in a Changing World" (with others; Morrison Institute for Population and Resource Studies, 1989)
  • "Resources, Environment, and Population" (with M. Bernstan; Oxford University Press, 1991"

In the popular press, Davis' work appeared in "Scientific American," "Science," the "New York Times Magazine," "Commentary," "Foreign Affairs" and numerous newspapers.[11]

In 1957, Davis predicted that population of the world would reach six billion by the year 2000. He was remarkably close; that population figure was reached in October 1999.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kingsley Davis at Encyclopædia Britannica
  2. ^ Biography from Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society
  3. ^ Kingsley Davis at Encyclopædia Britannica
  4. ^ Obituary at Stanford News
  5. ^ George J. Stolnitz (1955) Population Studies, Vol. 9, No. 1. pp. 24-55
  6. ^ Davis, K, and Moore, W. E. "Some principles of stratification." American Sociological Review, 10 (2), 242-49
  7. ^ De Maio, F. Health & Social Theory. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010, 29.
  8. ^ Kingsley Davis at Encyclopædia Britannica
  9. ^ Obituary at Stanford News
  10. ^ Obituary at Stanford News
  11. ^ Obituary at Stanford News
  12. ^ Bookrags.com

Further reading[edit]

  • David Heer and Kingsley Davis. "Kingsley Davis: A Biography and Selections from His Works" (Transaction Publishers, 2005)

External links[edit]