The Social and the Sexual: Networks in Contemporary Demographic Research
Demography, Population, and Ecology
Social and Behavioral Sciences
The analysis of networks has become an important theme in contemporary demographic research in both developed and developing countries, including investigations of the determinants of fertility behaviors, the interaction between social network and social structures and population policies, the role of intergenerational networks in aging societies, and the relevance for sexual networks for the spread of HIV AIDS. This paper reviews the current research on networks across several domains in demographic research, and it discusses some of the specific challenges of network-based approaches with respect to data collection, analytic approaches and methodologies, interpretation of results, and micro-to-macro aggregation by drawing on research conducted as part of the Kenyan Diffusion and Ideational Change Project (KDICP), the Malawi Longitudinal Study of Families and Health (MLSFH) and the Likoma Network Study (LNS).