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Svetlana A. Sukneva and Anastasiia S. Barashkova

This article presents the particularities of the formation and development of the population in the Russian northeast. It demonstrates that the negative balance of migration and natural growth reduction has become a key reason for the depopulation of the region, and a direct correlation has been established between fertility and mortality and the age structure of the population. The article also shows that the main trends with regard to marriage reflect the trends observed in the course of demographic processes; the deterioration of the marital status among the indigenous peoples of northeastern Russia is attributed to the narrowness of the marriage market.

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Yagoub Yousif Al-Kandari

The rate of consanguineous marriage in Kuwait is considered to be high. Several research studies have shown that marriage among relatives is one of the major factors leading to health problems because it increases homozygosis. This article deals with both cultural and physical aspects by examining the health consequences of consanguineous marriages in Kuwait. Variables such as reproductive wastage, health problems in the offspring and infant mortality are included and measured in relation to other socio-cultural variables. Cultural variables such as the respondents' roots (Bedouin and non-Bedouin) and beliefs (Muslim Sunni and Muslim Shi'a) are also examined. The results show that there is no significant association between consanguineous and non-consanguineous marriages in the rate of abortion or the mortality of infants and children up to five years old. Finally, the data reveal significant differences between the genetic and genetic-environmental diseases in consanguineous couples' offspring and those of non-consanguineous couples. Since some of these findings contradict those of other studies, more research is needed.

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The Socio-Demographic Situation in the Republic of Tuva

Conditions of Social Transformation, 1990s–early 2000s

Zoya Dorzhu

Based on a comprehensive analysis of census data, this article examines social and demographic development in one of the youngest regions of Russian Federation, the Republic of Tuva, at the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first. The given statistics provide the characteristics of the quantitative and qualitative changes in the population, and the socioeconomic conditionality and the laws of its reproduction are analyzed in order to reveal various issues in the implementation of social policy in modern Russia and its regions.

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The Dangers of Excess

Accumulating and Dispersing Fortune in Mongolia

Rebecca Empson

This article explores practices concerned with the accumulation of fortune in present-day Mongolia. By contrasting practices associated with the accumulation of animal herds, children, and immovable property, we see how some are viewed as morally commendable while others are considered morally suspect. It is suggested that when people accumulate too much fortune, misfortune strikes, thereby ensuring the redistribution and release of fortune. By examining the different ways in which fortune and wealth may be released, harnessed, or contained, more general ideas about new ways of accumulating wealth and the dangers of excess in the market economy emerge.

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Andrew Lattas, Anni Kajanus and Naomi Haynes

Donald M. Nonini, ed., A Companion to Urban Anthropology (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2014), 532 pp. ISBN 9781444330106.

Maximilian P. Holland, Social Bonding and Nurture Kinship: Compatibility between Cultural and Biological Approaches (North Charleston, SC: CreateSpace, 2012), 334 pp. ISBN 9781480182004.

Richard Vokes, Ghosts of Kanungu: Fertility, Secrecy and Exchange in the Great Lakes of East Africa (Suffolk: James Currey, 2013), 256 pp. ISBN 9781847010728.

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Calm Vessels

Cultural Expectations of Pregnant Women in Qatar

Susie Kilshaw, Daniel Miller, Halima Al Tamimi, Faten El-Taher, Mona Mohsen, Nadia Omar, Stella Major and Kristina Sole

This article explores emerging themes from the first stage of ethnographic research investigating pregnancy and loss in Qatar. Issues around the development of foetal personhood, the medical management of the pregnant body and the social role of the pregnant woman are explored. Findings suggest that Qatari women are expected to be calm vessels for their growing baby and should avoid certain foods and behaviours. These ideas of risk avoidance are linked to indigenous knowledge around a mother’s influence on a child’s health and traits. Motherhood holds a particularly important place in Qatari culture and in Islam, and women are ultimately responsible for protecting and promoting fertility and for producing healthy children.

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Dagmar Haase

Whereas environmental and social impacts of urban sprawl are widely discussed among scholars from both the natural and social sciences, the spatial consequences of urban decline are nearly neglected when discussing the impacts of land transition. Within the last decade, "shrinkage" and "perforation" have arisen as new terms to explain the land use development of urban regions faced with demographic change, particularly decreasing fertility, aging, and out-migration. Although shrinkage is far from being a "desired" scenario for urban policy makers, this paper argues that a perforation of the built-up structure in dense cities might bring up many positive implications.

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Riziki S. Shemdoe, Idris S. Kikula and Patrick Van Damme

This article presents local knowledge on ecosystem management by analyzing and discussing traditional tillage practices applied by smallholder farmers as a response to drought risks in dryland areas of Mpwapwa District, central Tanzania. Farming activities in the area wholly depend on rain-fed systems. Information from key informants and in-depth household interviews indicate that farmers in this area use three different traditional tillage practices—no-till (sesa), shallow tillage (kutifua), and ridges (matuta). Available information suggests that selection of a particular practice depends on affordability (in terms of costs and labor requirements), perceived ability to retain nutrient and soil-water, and improvement of control of erosion and crop yield. In this area, smallholder farmers perceive no-till practice to contribute to more weed species, hence more weeding time and labor are needed than in the other two practices. The no-till practice also contributes to low soil fertility, low soil moisture retention, and poor crop yield. No plans have been made to introduce irrigation farming in these marginal areas of central Tanzania. Thus, improving the ability of the tillage practices to conserve soil moisture and maintain soil fertility nutrients using locally available materials are important tasks to be carried out. This will ensure the selection of practices that will have positive influence on improved crop yields in the area.

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Introduction

Assessing France as a Model of Societal Success

Éloi Laurent and Michèle Lamont

In this article, we propose a definition of the elusive "French model" of societal success and explore its usefulness for understanding the forces shaping France's future. This model, we suggest, remains "statist-republicanist": its democracy revolves around the idea of republicanism, while its economy continues to rely heavily on market regulation and public intervention. We assess France's model of societal success, which requires exploring the country's long-term assets and liabilities for human development. We argue, first of all, that France relies on a combination of a high fertility rate, an excellent health care system, a low level of income inequalities, and "de-carbonized growth"; second, that it continues to have a major liability, namely, a shadow French model of cultural membership that sustains segregation and discrimination; and third, that it experiences an important decoupling between its profound socio-economic transformations, on the one hand, and its political discourse and representations of the polity, on the other.

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Sylvie and Reina Rutlinger-Reiner

In post-industrial societies, the individualization of the family process, which puts the individual at the center of the family, is changing this institution beyond recognition. As part of this evolution, individuals and their human rights, together with their obligations and responsibilities, become the basis for the family institution and for its legitimization. Consequently, family frameworks, whose roles and legitimate boundaries were established in the past in ways that served the interests of society and ensured its biological and cultural continuity, are becoming frameworks in which the individual is at the center. At the same time, thanks to ethical and political changes and the achievements of medical technology, for the first time in human history an individual can separate marriage, fertility, parenthood, and the establishment of a household to the extent that the socio-cultural climate allows.