CMES: Population, Generation And Nation: Understanding The Arab World Through Demography


Wednesday, January 25, 2017, 4:00pm to 6:00pm


Darman Seminar Rm, 1st floor, Taubman Bldg, Center for Public Leadership, Harvard Kennedy School


The Harvard Kennedy School Middle East Initiative and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies present

Philippe Fargues
Professor, Robert Schuman Centre, European University Institute; Associate, Harvard Kennedy School.

Demographic trends, such as fertility decline and delayed marriage, have freed individuals from the family constraints of earlier periods. They have produced the first generation of individuals enjoying freedom of movement. Underlying demographic changes, the development of school education has shaken the traditional generation and gender hierarchies that prevailed in patriarchal societies.  Younger generations have overtaken the old and women have caught up with men in terms of knowledge. But knowledge is not power and the younger generations’ aspirations, nourished at school, are frustrated by the barriers they find as adults. States do not respond to the expectations of the young. The political framework created by nations, meanwhile, is weak and non-inclusive. The nation is not the framework where the deep social interactions of population reproduction take place, a domain in which kinship (and the community) continues to play its role of long ago. Moreover, the nation is not felt to be strong enough to include newcomers and an always larger segment of a country’s population is made of non-citizens. The combination of exclusion and lack of reference framework resembles what Durkheim once called anomy

Philippe Fargues is a sociologist and demographer. He is a part-time Professor at the Robert Schuman Centre of the European University Institute and an Affiliate at Harvard Kennedy School. He was the founding Director of EUI’s Migration Policy Centre and held senior positions at the National Institute for Demographic Studies in Paris and the American University in Cairo and taught at Harvard and various universities in France, the Middle East and Africa. His research interests include migration, population and politics. His recent publications include: Skillful Survivals. Irregular Migration to the Gulf (with Nasra Shah, GRC-Cambridge, forthcoming 2017); Migration from North Africa and the Middle East: Skilled Migrants, Development and Globalisation (IB Tauris, 2015), Is What We Hear About Migration Really True? Questioning Eight Migration Stereotypes (EUI, 2014).

Co-sponsors: Middle East Initiative, Harvard Kennedy School, Center for Middle Eastern Studies
Contact: Liz Flanagan