Social environmental bases of fertility motivation: a dynamic view

AuthorLee, Rance Pui-leung

Ng, Pedro Pak-tao

TitleSocial environmental bases of fertility motivation: a dynamic view
PublisherSocial Research Center, the Chinese University of Hong Kong
Publication DateOctober, 1974

Fertility, Human

Abstract/ Concluding Remarks:

Changes in fertility motivation are conditioned by the changes in social and cultural environment. The course of socio-cultural system change can be conceptualized in terms of three interacting processes: technological advancement, increased differentiation in social structure, and rationalization in belief system. The history of human societies can be characterized as the progress form a technologically simple, structurally undifferentiated, and sacred or traditional oriented pattern toward a technologically advanced, structurally differentiated, and secular or utility-rational oriented pattern. The consequence of this progress is the decline of normative pressures for high fertility motivation. High fertility norms are consistent with the family-dominated sociocultural system of traditional or underdeveloped societies.

They are so important for the welfare of the society that they tend to be perceived as sacred. These sacred-normative pressures for high fertility motivation persist for some time during the period of transition from underdeveloped to developed society. The continual growth of technology and its interaction with structural differentiation and rationalization, however, gradually lead to the rise of utility-rational orientation to fertility. At the same time, the emergence of certain social-economic and familial conditions tends to make a utility-rational oriented couple consider it not merely a matter of desirability but almost one of necessity to limit the number of their children. Under these sociocultural circumstances, the increased availability of more effective family planning technology may serve to facilitate the decline of fertility.

NoteBibliography: p. 35-38
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