Quality and Quantity: The Quest for Biological Regeneration by William H. Schneider

By William H. Schneider

This e-book examines intimately how eugenics in early twentieth-century France supplied a extensive conceal for numerous reform events that tried to result in the organic regeneration of the French inhabitants. like every different societies in this interval, France confirmed a becoming curiosity in natalist, neo-Lamarckian, social hygiene, racist, and different biologically-based activities as a reaction to the notion that French society was once in a country of decline and degeneration. William Schneider's examine offers a desirable account of makes an attempt to use new discoveries in biology and drugs towards the development within the inherited organic caliber of the inhabitants via such measures as contraception, premarital examinations, sterilization, and immigration limit. it's the first try to set forth the main parts of French eugenics either for comparability with different international locations and to teach the interplay of some of the pursuits that comprised it.

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Sample text

One of the reasons is that two extremist groups developed diametrically opposed ideas about controlling births: natalists and neo-Malthusians. Although the term "birth control" is usually applied to neo-Malthusianism, it is important to note that both groups had similar responses to degeneration — "controlling" the quantity of the population; and both groups either ignored the question of quality or assumed it would naturally follow from the implemention of their programs. In a broad sense, therefore, both movements are examples of what Foucault identified as increasing bio-power in the modern world.

Held despite threats of boycott because of the Dreyfus affair, the exposition not only took place, it set attendance records that lasted until the 1960s. The exhibitions and displays were specifically designed to convince the public of the great strides that had been made over the course of the century. This included the standard technological marvels to be found at World's Fairs such as a moving sidewalk, public demonstrations of x-rays, extensive automobile exhibits, a Palace of Electricity, and the usual machine and manufacturing exhibits.

Bertillon's rhetoric ignored the fact that the neo-Malthusians were also concerned about the problem of decline at the end of the nineteenth century. Robin, for example, made it very clear that his goal was part of this broad movement by the name he chose for his organization - the League of Human Regeneration. The title of its journal was simply Regeneration. The statutes of the league also illustrate this goal and the means to achieve it, at the same time revealing the potential for cooperation with eugenics.

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