From neo-Malthusianism to eugenics as a ‘revolutionary conquest’, 1920–1937
in Anarchism and eugenics
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Chapter 4 continues the inquiry on eugenics into the years 1920–1940, covering the ‘hey-day’ of eugenic thought in the 1920s and 1930s both within anarchism and as part of the international eugenics movement itself. It analyses the political, scientific and religious influences that operated upon anarchism in its uptake of eugenics. In particular, questions such as the gendered nature of eugenic projects and their impact specifically on women’s bodies are assessed, as are discussions on the appropriateness or otherwise of the sterilization of the ‘unfit’, the development of ‘conscious maternity’ and the hygienic improvement of the social and health conditions of the poor. The reaction within anarchism to broader political and scientific debates on the acceptability and practicality of eugenics constitutes a thread that runs through this chapter.

Anarchism and eugenics

An unlikely convergence, 1890–1940

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