“A Dangerous Surplus of Sons? Two Political Scientists Warn That Asia's Lopsided Sex Ratios Threaten World Peace.”

The Chronicle of higher education 05/2004; 50(35):A14-6, A18.
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    • "Both authors were interviewed by CIA agents who wanted to know what attitude the US government should take towards sex ratios in Asia (Glen, 2004). Hudson has been quoted as saying that 'In 2020 it may seem to China that it would be worth it to have a very bloody battle in which a lot of their young men could die in some glorious cause' (Glen, 2004). For many outside China, this confirms fears concerning China's recent so-called military build-up (Roy, 1994; O'Rourke, 2008). "
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    ABSTRACT: The recent formation of the field of security demographics hasdrawn attention to the importance of population as a security issue. For example, Hudson and den Boer argue that the populations of Asia’slargest countries are a threat not because of size but because of asunusual composition – excess males. Their argument is based on theobservation that, after thirty years of population limitation policies, the Chinese population has a distinct gender bias. There are millions more males than females, creating what has been dubbed a ‘bachelor army.’ Hudson and den Boer posit that the problems caused by this ‘bachelor army’ may lead to war. This paper argues that fear about China’s population is not new but has shaped the way China has been portrayed since the foundation of the PRC. The large size of the Chinese population was originally seen as a weakness likely to bring down the government. However during the 1950s and 60s the industrious and organized nature of the Chinese population earned the Chinese people the moniker ‘blue ants.’ It seems more than coincidental that the development of recent fearsabout China’s population coincides with the emergence of China as amajor economic power. After analyzing the development of the genderratio imbalance, this paper concludes that the re-surfacing of fear about China’s male population continues a tradition of Orientalist stereotypes.
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    • "In an environment pervaded by fears of world disorder, research centres and think tanks like The Center for Strategic a nd International Studies have successfully obtained the ear of politicians, military and security personnel, policy analysts and the public at large. By firmly linking young humans – especially young men -with violence against states, war researchers and commentators have the potential to instil a sense of moral panic as the 'youth bulge' in parts of the South is seen to pose a grave threat to local, national, regional and even global security (Glenn 2004, Helgerson 2002, Hendrixson 2004, Kaplan 1994, Sommers 2006 and 2003). As Henrik Urdal observes, 'youth bulges have become a popular explanation for current political instability in the Arab world and for recruitment to i nternational terrorist networks' (Urdal 2004: 1). "
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    ABSTRACT: Young populations, and particularly young males, have been attributed a proclivity to aggression and unrest that puts societies at risk. Theories about the dangers of a demographic 'youth bulge' inform public and policy debates about the predictors of violent conflict, as evidenced most recently in the World Bank's World Development Report for 2007. This paper evaluates the validity and utility of claims linking youth bulges to civil conflicts by reviewing different literatures concerning naturalist ideas of young humans' innate aggression and cognitive incompetence as well as environmentalist ideas of environmental stimuli, processes of socialisation, and the dialectical relationship of structural conditions and human agency. This review finds that the moral panic propagated by youth bulge theorists is too often based on only one form of influence on human development and action, whether an aspect of environment, personal experience, or individual traits. A more cogent analysis must integrate the highly complex and dynamic processes involved in cognition and behaviour and aim to develop theories that take account of the social power, ideational and structural forms, and emotional and cognitive processes that young people experience and draw on in times of war. Theories of causality that fail to account for this complexity obscure understanding of the many ways in which young people and conflict may be linked.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2007 · Conflict Security and Development

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